Earning the legendary Green Mountain has always been on my mind!
I always remember Magellan telling me about the legendary Green Mountain. Back in 2006 well first came to visit Seattle from New Hampshire, one of the first hike Magellan talked about was Green Mountain. He told me that before the washout that Green Mountain was one of the all time best lookouts. Well first came the washout and then it looked as if the lookout had been removed. Luckily within five years both the lookout and the road have been repaired by 2012 and soon people were able to head back up to legendary Green Mountain.
So what took me so long?
Well health, lack of partners and preconceptions of the road being to rough for my car played a major role in me not going up to Green. Well I have recently formed an excellent hiking group and I made one of the prime destinations that I will be doing in 2017. I set the hike on my group and luckily I got one other to go along which is my new friend Ariel. We have a number of other summits recently so felt ready to tackle the legendary Green Mountain. I was going to rent a truck but with rates for trucks going up to $200 for the day I decided to risk it with my vehicle. Luckily the car made it but jury is out if the car suffered any damage from the rough dirt road.
After carefully driving up the dirt road to the Green Mountain trailhead Ariel and I got ourselves out and started to head up the mountain. The first mile or so was easy going up a nice smooth trail through a beautiful forest. I am slower these days but we did make quick work of the forest. Soon we were out of the forest and were into the alpine meadows where great views towards the south awaited us. We were also greeted by thick undergrowth. Ariel and I had previously experienced this situation on Bare Mountain and at that time it was a bit of an unpleasant experience. Though the undergrowth was annoying in some spots it clearly was not as bad as Bare Mountain. What really made it special was the great views along the way. We took our time through the beautiful meadows and within 2 hours we crested over a nice ridge and at the nice tarn. Someone took the time to build a nice bench right by the tarn. If you have a filter, this would be a good place to restock your water.
Looking down the ridge
The tarn on the way to Green Mountain
After a nice water and food break we made the final push for the summit. Sadly I am struggling with being in shape so it took us 45 minutes to get to the summit of Green Mountain from the lake. The last mile is 1200 feet of elevation gain to the final push but the grade is excellent and the trail for the final leg is great condition all the way up to the summit. On the way up we also stopped to take a whole lot of pictures. The fields got smaller yet stayed green all the way up to the top. There was some spots that were starting to turn yellow but fall has not yet hit the beautiful fields of Green Mountain.
Glacier Peak from Green Mountain
I was slowed up a bit on the final round due to the startup of cramps. Luckily Ariel had the muscle spray which relaxed the muscle just enough to pull me up without slowing down too much. There were also small showers that appeared to be developing to the south so I knew I had to push myself in order to get to the summit with enough time to enjoy the accomplishment.
The crew from Green Mountain Lookout
Even with my now slower pace we were able to summit this peak in under three hours. We were greeted by both other hikers and volunteers who are presently repairing and preserving the beautiful Green Mountain overlook. The showers stayed to the south and we greeted with stunning views in all directions. To be totally honest this was probably the prettiest hike that I have done thus far in 2017. So many mountains to see and it would be impossible to name all the mountains from this special summit and lookout. We were greeted with Glacier Peak to the south, Baker (mostly clouded over) to the north and Dome Peak along with hundreds of others to the east. Between talking to other hikers, taking pictures and posing for pictures we spent over an hour marveling at the stunning views that Green Mountain provided. But like everything that is good, our time on the summit had to come to an end. It looked like there was some weather developing and we did not want to run out of time heading off the mountain.
The American flag from Green Mountain Lookout
Looking southwest from Green Mountain
Looking east from Green Mountain
Looking southeast from Green Mountain
More views from Green Mountain
EastKing pose (with shirt on)
Ariel on Green Mountain
Looking down the ridge
Glacier Peak from Green Mountain
Even with another short break at the lake to watch my calf muscles actually moving as I was sitting it took us less than two hours to head back to the car. The trail is well graded even at the section where it goes 1200 feet in one mile and with that good grading we were able to make good time head down the mountain. The one steep 200 foot uphill section from the tarn to the ridge was annoying but other than that the trail was a relatively easy back to the car. We did take our time time down in order to enjoy the excellent views from the trail.
Heading down from Green Mountain
I cant say the same for the ride down where we went from the rough Green Mountain road to washboards on the Suiattle River Road. The jury is still out on how well my car made it through those sections. I am glad I did take my car and made this hike however if I had to do it again I would have brought a high clearance vehicle on the road.
This mountain is well worth the wait. I would suggest this mountain to anyone and I am so glad Magellan clued me into this peak 11 years ago. It is a special peak and one of the many gems in the Washington Cascades. I would though not hike this mountain on a cloudy or rainy day. It would be a severe disappointment to do such a thing.
Ariel is great person to hike with. My pace is relatively slower now but he was patient with me. He also came very well prepared for this hike and was very strong throughout the entire hike. I look forward to going on many more hikes and climbs with him. There is still some summer left and I hope to get out and enjoy it while it is still going strong.