Mount Claywood is a magnificent looking peak between the south side of the Lost River valley and the head of the Dosewallips River valley. Its location deep in the interior of Olympic National Park makes it an infrequently climbed peak and a great destination for scenic vistas.
Claywood shares a ridge running north and south from Hayden Pass with the smaller Mount Fromme. It boasts stunning views of the Lost River peaks, Dosewallips valley and peaks, the Elwha area, and the Hayes River area. Excluding Peak 7060, Claywood is the highest peak along the upper reaches of the main fork of the Dosewallips River. Wellesley Peak, Sentinel Peak, Lost Peak, and West Wellesley Peak also share its domain.
From the regal summit one can view many of the major peaks of the Olympic Range. Mount Anderson, West Peak, Mount Olympus, Mount Deception and Mount Mystery are all easily recognizable. Crystal Peak, Wellesley Peak, Mount Meany and Mount Dana are also quite scenic from this viewpoint.
There are two possible approaches to Mount Claywood. The Dosewallips Rivery valley seems to be the best bet. Though the washout adds another 5.5 miles of trail distance it does discourage most of the traffic that one might find in the first 10 miles of backpacking. Actually, chances of seeing anyone else on Claywood, or surrounding peaks, is quite rare. The actual hiking distance from trailhead to summit is close to 22 miles. Hayden Pass to Mount Fromme, then dropping down to the west of Claywood Lake, is the most direct route to the summit.
The second option would be to hike up the Elwha River to the Hayes River guard station. From there a trail to Hayden Pass takes one about 8 miles to a southern approach of Claywood. Ascending the peak from the south before reaching Hayden Pass also rules out crossing snow in early summer. The southern slopes also are more frequented by wildlife then the ridge of Mount Fromme.
$5 fee plus $2/night/person. Camp at existing campsites as much as possible. Keep it wild!
Camping can be done at Dose Meadows, a mere 3.5 miles from Mount Claywood. Camping at Claywood Lake is too rocky to be enjoyable and comfortable. Another possible location is Bear Camp, about 5 miles from Mount Claywood.