An old saying is "you cannot judge a book by its cover". Similarly, a person should not judge Mount Walker by its low elevation. Located on the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, Mount Walker has multiple notable distinctive qualities:
-> Mount Walker is the easternmost peak of the Olympic Mountains range.
-> Mount Walker is the only Puget Sound-facing peak in the Olympic Mountains to have both a road and an official trail to its summit.
-> Mount Walker, despite its low elevation of 2804', has 2044' elevation of clean prominence. Having a clean prominence over 2000' elevation is a rarity for such a low-elevation peak.
-> Mount Walker has a trail leading to the summit which climbs 2000' elevation in only two miles, for an average of 1000' elevation gain per mile. The trail, although in good condition, is not to be underestimated.
-> Mount Walker has two summit viewpoints, separated by 0.5 miles, each of which had fire lookouts used by the Hood Canal Ranger District from 1931 until being discontinued and dismantled in 1967.
There are two options for summiting Mount Walker. The first option is to drive 4.25 miles from US-101 along Mount Walker Road, also known as Forest Road #2730, starting at 725' elevation and leading to the top of the mountain. Once there, the road encounters a "T" intersection. The road to the left (north) of the "T" intersection leads to a parking area for the north summit, which is the true summit of Mount Walker at 2805' elevation. The road to the right (south) of the "T" intersection leads to a parking area for the south summit. From either parking area, it is only a short 0.1 miles walk to its respective summit viewpoint.
The second option for summiting Mount Walker is to hike Mount Walker Trail #894. The trailhead is located approximately 0.25 miles from the beginning of Mount Walker Road. Mount Walker Trail #894 steeply climbs for two miles to the north summit, which is the true summit, of the mountain. Because of its short distance and high elevation gain, Mount Walker Trail #894 is a popular destination for many hikers visiting the area.
There are large panoramic views from both summits of Mount Walker. From the north summit, the views include Mount Constance (the third-highest peak in the Olympic Mountains range), Warrior Peaks, Cloudy Peak, Buckhorn Mountain, Iron Mountain, and Mount Townsend to the west and northwest, and Mount Baker to the east. From the south summit, the views include Green Hill, Turner Mountain, and Buck Mountain to the south, and several other peaks of the Olympic Mountains to the west.
Mount Walker has an abundance of lowland flora and fauna. The most common plants found on the mountain slopes are second-growth forests of hemlock, cedar, and Douglas fir (some over 100 years old), as well as Pacific rhododendron, salal, and sword fern. Animals found on the mountain include cougars, black bears, squirrels, gray jays, sooty grouse, hermit warbler, and red-tailed hawk.
One minor detail about the mountain worth noting is that some maps show the elevation as 2804', while others show the elevation as 2805'. This discrepancy can also be found within the documentation of the Olympic National Forest, as well.
Getting ThereFrom Quilcene, Washington:
1) Drive south along US-101 for approximately five miles.
2) Turn east onto Mount Walker Road (Forest Road #2730).
3a) Drive 4.25 miles to the north summit parking area, or,
3b) Drive 0.25 miles to the trailhead for Mount Walker Trail. Park on the open area across from the trailhead, on the north side of the road.
Red TapeNo permits or parking passes are required to hike or visit Mount Walker.
Mount Walker Trail #894, Mount Walker Road (Forest Road #2730), and summit parking areas are for day-use only.
Motorcycles and bicycles are prohibited from traveling on Mount Walker Trail #894.
Trailers and motorhomes are prohibited from traveling on Mount Walker Road (Forest Road #2730).
The entrance gate for Mount Walker Road (Forest Road #2730) is closed during winter months. Mount Walker Road is usually open by May 1. If in doubt, contact the Hood Canal Ranger District in Quilcene for more information: (360)765-2200.