OverviewNow I'm not one to espouse naming peaks after a color, but in this case I'll have to make an exception for this is an exceptionally green mountain. Of course, to partake in all this greeness, you've got to visit it after all the snow has melted off its open fern and ankle-brush slopes. The peak is located about 60 miles northeast of the city of Seattle and 15 miles due east of Darrington.
The mountain provides splendid views of the North-Central Cascades region from Mt. Pugh (to the SSW) to White Chuck Mountain to Mt. Chaval (NNW) to Snowking Mountain to the Buckindy Group to Dome Peak (East) and finally to Glacier Peak (SSE). There are, of course, many other peaks to be seen. As such it is a very popular hiking objective with a good trail all the way to the top. The peak is also a fantastic cross-country ski hill provided you can get to it.
I climbed Green in September 1993 and June 1995. On the first trip I encountered the old summit lookout, built in 1933. It seemed to be in fairly good condition but I remember thinking it took away from the aesthetics of the vieworific summit. Well, only a year-and-a-half later on my second trip the lookout had been cordoned off. It was apparently now off-limits. I have now learned that the lookout has since been removed completely. Update April 2014: Congress has voted to save the lookout: Seattle Times article
Getting ThereNote: (September 2007) Due to washouts along the Suiattle River Road the trailhead is not currently accessible by car. However, you can make the approach by bicycle, motorbike, or foot. The road is closed at MP 12.6. Green Mountain Road is at MP 19. The GMR is 6 miles long and ends at the trailhead. Total distance is 6.4 + 6 = 12.4 miles. Elevation gain from road closure point to the trailhead is 2600 ft. It took me, fit Klenke, 2.5 hours to bike and push the bike up to the trailhead and one hour to bike down to the car. For the latter, I was surprised how much I had to pedal to keep up speed on the softened road (by lack of vehicular compaction). The Forest Service estimates repair of SRR by 2008/2009.
Getting to Green Mountain Trail used to be a simple matter though I did experience a flat on this approach (this is a humorous anecdote that I will share a little later). I say "used to" because, after the giant rainstorm we had here in the Pacific Northwest on October 20, 2003 (the one which dumped a record 5.02 inches of rain in 24 hours at Sea-Tac airport), the Suiattle River Road (FR-26) is now washed out in several places on the approach. Not knowing what the repair schedule will be like for this road, I think I shall present the approach as if it is still doable.
From Darrington, drive Hwy-530 6.5 miles to the bridge over the Sauk River. At the east end of the bridge, stay straight instead of going around the corner to the left on the highway. Alternately, this turn off (to FR-26) is 11 miles south of Rockport on Hwy 530. Drive the Suiattle River for 19 miles (maybe half of these miles are paved) to Green Mountain Road (FR-2640), which cuts off to the left and climbs somewhat steeply for 5.5 miles to the trailhead at 3,500 ft.
Green Mountain Trail No. 782 is 4 miles long and climbs 3,000 ft. At about halfway there the trail passes through a flat basin with a shallow lake in it. This is a good camp if you so desire, but the climb is really a day-hike. For maybe 75 percent of the climb, the trail zigzags back and forth up lovely open verdant slopes. You have to watch out for marmots (you're actually strolling along highway M-101, 'M' as in marmot). They are everywhere. It's a veritable marmotopolis. So if you're a marmotologist or simply a marmot marketeer (who would want to be?) or perhaps a marmot in a past life or perhaps wish to be reincarnated as a marmot, this is the place for you. But you know what they say, don't feed the bears, I mean marmots. Speaking of bears, you'll probably get to see some of them too--especially if it's huckleberry bonanza hour.
Oh, as for that flat tire story: Okay, so I'm speeding along on the paved part of the Suiattle River Road with my friend Kenley and his fiancé when I mention to them (because I had been on the road before) that the road soon turns to gravel. I knew I would have to slow down real soon because I didn't want to risk going that fast on a bumpy logging road. Well, about 100 yards before the pavement's end, a rogue pothole literally crept out into the middle of the road and snared my tire like a game trap would. Pop goes the weasel! Drove the rest of the way to the trailhead on a half-empty spare. Oh well, at least the summit was made just the same.
Red TapeTrail Park Pass. 'Nuf said.
When To ClimbThis is a good winter or spring skiing trip if you can get there. The open slopes are primo for getting stoked for, but certainly avalanche dangers should be heeded. Also, as I said, washouts on the Suiattle River Road may preclude even getting there at all, much less in the spring or winter.
Earlier in the season the hike and much of the trail will be snowcovered. This is not ordinarily a problem unless that's not your bag. The snow does provide for some nice glissading. As the season progresses more and more of the whiteness of snow gives way to the greeness of fauna. Finally, in fall you will be treated to a redness of fauna. So youze takesa your picksa.
CampingTwo good flat spots to recount: at about halfway in the flat basin near the little lake and at the summit itself. There really aren't that many other flat spots (at least that I can recall). The Green Mountain Trail is a popular starting or ending point for those intrepid climbers doing the Buckindy Traverse. These climbers may find these camping arrangements most useful. Also, I think in the heat of summer--particularly by the little lake--you will not be able forfend the skeeter invasion so consider yourself warned.
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