DISCLAIMERThis SummitPost page has been created for educational purposes only. This page and its creator do not recommend or promote visiting Gold Mountain or its summit.
Gold Mountain is the highest point in Kitsap County of Washington State. As such, the mountain is important both to Kitsap County residents and to county highpointers in general. With a modest elevation of 1761', Gold Mountain is ranked #37 out of the 39 Washington County Highpoints in terms of elevation and #29 out of the 39 Washington County Highpoints in terms of prominence.
However, despite its significance to both Kitsap County residents and county highpointers, reaching the summit of Gold Mountain proves to be a controversial task. In fact, the ability to summit Gold Mountain almost seems like Kitsap County's "dirty little secret". Hikers and mountain bikers regularly visit Gold Mountain, many of whom reach the summit. However, the road leading to the summit briefly skirts into Bremerton Watershed boundaries in several sections, and the watershed is currently controlled by the Bremerton Utility District. The Bremerton Watershed is considered a "closed watershed", meaning no public access is allowed because no filtration plant is being used for the watershed area. However, historically, Kitsap County and City of Bremerton officials have tended to not punish hikers and mountain bikers who have remained on the main summit road/route without deviations.
Most of the eastern and southern sides of Gold Mountain are within the Bremerton Watershed. Conversely, most of the western and northern sides of the mountain are DNR (Department of Natural Resources) land. While the Bremerton Watershed remains densely forested, the DNR sections of the mountain have been heavily logged. Most recent logging on the mountain has been done by a company called "Pope Resources".
Gold Mountain was named after gold mining that occurred at the mountain in the late 1800s. A gold mine operated on the mountain slopes in the 1890s, but was soon abandoned during the onset of the Alaska Gold Rush.
There is plenty of red tape for Gold Mountain, and it all revolves around the Bremerton Watershed. As already mentioned, the Bremerton Watershed is a "closed watershed", which means no visitors are allowed on the watershed land. The Bremerton Watershed is frequently patrolled by authorities, and arrests and prosecutions are very likely for anyone caught on the watershed land.
Multiple county and city officials have assured me, both in-person and via telephone conversations, that hikers following the Gold Mountain main road to the summit will not be arrested or fined if those hikers remain on the summit route and do not enter any adjoining forests (Bremerton Watershed), gated (or chained/roped-off) side-roads, or fenced areas. However, these same officials have not been willing to give that same answer in writing/print, and until/unless any of them provide permission in writing/print accessing the mountain summit cannot be considered officially safe for public access.
Any people attempting to summit Gold Mountain do so at their own risk.
Beginning during 2011, parking areas and trailheads within this area (such as Gold Creek Trailhead, various Green Mountain parking areas and trailheads) now require a Discover Pass to be in each vehicle during the visit. Failure to have a Discover Pass visible within a parked vehicle at these locations can result in a substantial fine. For more information regarding the Discover Pass, please visit the official website.
Getting ThereThere are two approaches for the Gold Mountain summit, and both approaches eventually use the main road leading up Gold Mountain to the summit.
The western approach begins at the Gold Creek Trailhead.
To get to the Gold Creek Trailhead:
1) From Highway 3, take exit 41 onto Chico Way. Head west.
2) After 0.5 miles, turn right on North Lake NW Way.
3) After 0.4 miles further, veer right onto Seabeck Hwy Spur NW.
4) After 3.0 miles further, turn left onto NW Holly Road.
5) After 4.1 miles further, turn left (south) onto Tahuyeh Lake NW Road.
6) After 3.0 miles further, the Gold Creek Trailhead and parking lot will be on the leftside of the road.
The southern approach begins at Minard Road.
To get to Minard Road:
1) From Highway 3, head west along Old Belfair Valley Road.
2) Take a right on Minard Road, several minutes after passing the Gold Mountain Golf Course.
Specific details of the summit approaches can be found on other websites and trip reports, but I will only include them on this SummitPost page if/when I get approval from Kitsap County or City of Bremerton officials in print (for which I will continue trying to receive). Any people attempting to summit Gold Mountain do so at their own discretion and risk.
CampingNo camping is allowed anywhere on Gold Mountain.
No recreation is allowed anywhere on the mountain, except in those areas allowing hiking and mountain biking.