OverviewThe Pacific County Highpoint (CoHP) is exactly what its reference implies... the highest point in Pacific County, Washington. Despite being the Pacific CoHP and having nearly 1500' of prominence, the peak (perhaps surprisingly) has no official name. The highest point is one of many unnamed and seemingly insignificant bumps found within the Willapa Hills of southwestern Washington.
The summit route is short and completely non-technical. The hike is a short jaunt (10-15 minutes) up an abandoned logging road. The main consideration when visiting the area is to understand that the land and logging roads in the vicinity of the Pacific CoHP are owned and controlled by either Weyerhauser or Rayonier, major logging corporations in Washington. A secondary consideration when visiting the area is to understand that the region is a popular hunting destination; use extra clothing/gear precautions if planning a visit during deer hunting and/or elk hunting season.
The Pacific CoHP can be summited during any season of the year. Due to the low-to-mid elevation of the highpoint, as well as the surrounding areas, the mountain tends to be snow-free during even heavy snow Winters elsewhere in Washington. During a single-day, it is possible to combine the Pacific CoHP with other nearby peaks in the region such as Walville Peak (the Pacific CoGPP) and/or Boistfort Peak (a peak with over 2000' of prominence).
There is a 40-foot closed-contour for the summit area. As such, the summit elevation is between 3000'-3040' elevation. The summit is located at a flat, grassy, and rocky area, on which several points appear to be the highest. It is best to try to touch as many of the highest spots as possible to help ensure the true "highest" point was reached.
Getting ThereThe long-time standard approach is via Weyerhauser access roads:
FROM PE ELL, WA:
-> Drive west along Highway 6.
-> After approximately six miles (at what would be virtual Mile Marker 22.6), turn left (south) onto a gravel logging road. There is a gate at the beginning of the road, which represents the beginning of the "A-Line" road.
NOTE: The basic driving route will involve staying on the "A-Line" road, which is not always marked/signed, until reaching the "F-Line" road.
The "A-Line" mileages and turns are listed below:
Mile 0.0 = Entrance Gate Near Highway 6
Mile 0.2 = Veer Left At A Road-Fork
Mile 0.6 = Veer Left At A Road-Fork
Mile 1.0 = Veer Right, Uphill
Mile 3.1 = Veer Left (NOTE: Two side-roads on rightside are for "C-Line")
Mile 3.5 = Continue Straight (NOTE: There is a side-road on rightside)
Mile 4.3 = Veer Right At A Road-Fork
Mile 4.7 = Veer Right At A Road-Fork
Mile 5.1 = Veer Left At A Road-Fork
Mile 5.3 = Veer Right At A Road-Fork
Mile 5.6 = Turn Right At A "T" Road Intersection
Mile 6.6 = Turn Left At A Road-Fork, Joining the "F-Line" Road
-> Follow the "F-Line" road for 1.6 miles.
-> Then a side-road on rightside sharply switchbacks and heads uphill.
NOTE: Any street-legal vehicle can reach this road intersection.
-> Follow the side-road for ~0.25 miles, until finding a bermed road at a minor saddle.
NOTE: For reference/location purposes, immediately beyond the saddle the road goes uphill to an flat grassy area.
-> Park along the road, making certain not to block any possible traffic that might use the road, or park in the flat grassy area beyond the minor saddle.
Walk over or around the berm on the side of the road, and begin hiking up an old, abandoned logging road to the open, flat summit area.
DRIVING DISTANCE (one-way): 8.4 miles
HIKING DISTANCE FROM BERM (one-way): Less than 0.5 miles
Access is also possible via Rayonier roads, from the south.
Red TapeWeyerhauser's active logging operations are present throughout the area of the Pacific CoHP. However, Weyerhauser grants public access. There are several general rules:
1) If planning to reach the summit of the Pacific CoHP, public access to some of the roads used on the summit route is only open during weekends, while logging activity is at a minimum (if at all present).
2) Access is only allowed during daylight hours.
3) If any logging machinery, vehicles, and/or personnel are encountered while travelling the logging roads, they reserve the "right of way". Unfortunately, because many of the logging roads on the mountain are single-lane, if there is no place to immediately pullout a vehicle on the side of a logging road when logging operations need to pass by, that vehicle will need to back-up to the nearest pullout or side road so that the logging operations' "right of way" is maintained.
Because access to the mountain is controlled by logging operations, public access may be restricted, and/or any of the mountain roads may be made inaccessible, at any time.
Seat belts and headlights must be in use while driving on the Weyerhauser logging roads that lead towards and near the Pacific CoHP.
A SP member ("Zinge") reported during April 2016 that permit fees might now be applicable for visiting the area, with him stating that a Rayonier permit costs $35 while a Weyerhauser permit costs $200. Specifics regarding those permits were not provided (such as whether permits apply only to vehicular travel or all travel), and permit rules and regulations can change without notice. When in doubt, do due diligence prior to any visit.
CampingBecause the Pacific CoHP is the site of active logging operations, no camping is allowed on the mountain. However, official campsites are available east of the area at Rainbow Falls State Park. The park has 45 campsites, including three spaces designated for hikers only. The campground area is fee-based, and campsites area available on a "first come first served" basis.
For more information regarding Rainbow Falls State Park, please visit the park's reference website.