Great view of Mount Higgins from French Point
Looking for a summit that has all of the potential to be popular but is not popular. Well French Point is clearly that summit. Located between Arlington and Darrington, Washington, French Point is a very simple hike to good views of the entire valley and the Higgins Mountain area. French Point is also located very close to the famous Boulder River trail which itself is famous for its excellent waterfalls. Most people who go to the Boulder River trail have no idea that French Point is even there though so chances are if you go up French Point you are likely to be one of the only people on the summit area.
The actual summit
Misty views. Try to go when it is at least somewhat clear.
French Point itself is technically a summit with 480 feet of prominence though the peak itself is only 1400 feet of total elevation. It also contains over 3 miles of isolation. For peakbaggers this means a lot but to a normal hiker this means very little. To them the most important thing is the summit area contains views. The actual true summit (where the geocache summit register is located) is now covered with shrubs and trees and does not contain good views. There are rapidly disappearing views up toward nearby French Peak just a couple feet from the true summit to the south but they are hardly impressive. However a hundred feet to the north of the summit register where the road has a clear-cut excellent views of the Mount Higgins summit area can be seen as well as through much of the valley below French Point.
Mount Higgins from the road
Getting up to the summit of French Point is a very easy road-walk that can be done by any moderately in shape person. However in 2014 the road was decommissioned and the forest service decided to build at least 10 tank traps on the try to prevent people from going on their ATV's or dirt bikes on the road.
The deep tank traps make what once was an extemely easy walkup something that has become a little more challenging. At 2 miles and 550 feet of elevation gain though the road-walk French Point still makes an excellent peak for beginning hikers as well for those bringing up their children. It also is a good fall out peak in case of high avalanche danger or bad weather in the higher elevations. I would also recommend this hike as a good evening hike as well due to the ease of travel to get to the summit.
BearQueen crossing a tank trap
It should be noted that French Point was also home to a former lookout tower which was abandoned back in 1959. The site remains are now buried under large shrubs and tree and is where the geocache register is now located. Use caution because there are a number of very large thorn bushes here and I received some good scratches by those bushes.
When you are going to attempt French Point take your time to stop by the Oso Landslide. The town of Oso lost many of their own during the event. There is a temporary memorial set along side of the road in remembrance of the Oso landslide. There is also a juniper area with each juniper representing someone who has died from the slide. Below are some links of the Oso landslide.
FROM ARLINGTON, WA: Take Route 530 for 19.5 miles. On your right hand side right by a residential area French Creek Road will be on your right. It will be hard to see so pay close attention. Once you make a right on French Creek Road stay on the road passed the telephone lines and the primitive campground/toilet area. You will also pass by one other dirt road on your right side. At 2.7 miles on your right will be a well paved road with a gate that is almost out of distance. That is your route up. There is parking on your left hand side.
Map of the Route
The route up to the summit of French Point is a now decommissioned service road that is full of tank trap. This was done as of 2014 and to be honest IT IS A REAL SHAME THE FOREST SERVICE WASTES SO MUCH TIME AND MONEY DESTROYING THESE ROADS INSTEAD OF LETTING THEM ERODE ON THEIR OWN!!!!
I was there before all the effort was made to destroy this road and it was a great leisurely walk up. Now some maneuvering is needed to get around the tank traps making a much less pleasant light hike for my wife and I. The distance is two miles round trip and the elevation gain is 550 feet. Once at the end of the forest road. Go through the bush about a 100 yards to the true summit where a Geocache register await right where the former lookout tower blocks are located.
Here is a welcoming sign!! The insane road block (est 2014).
There is no red tape for this peak. The trailhead is just a turnout on the road. It should be noted that any passenger vehicle would be good going up to the forest road trailhead.
When to Climb
French Point can be hiked up at anytime. Ideal times for going up French Point would be on a clear sunny evening or just a light snowfall provided that the road isn't too heavily covered with snow.
I personally would not advise camping here due to the fact there there is potential for traffic on the summit and that there is no water source there. It seems legal (no signs) but personally I would save the camping for other, larger mountains. There is also a little area that is right off of French Creek Road that serves as a primitive camping area by Washington State and Natural Resources Area as well. There is still a latrine located on that site.
External LinksFrench Point Peakbagger Page
A funny trip report about French Point
A much better trip report about French Point
Here is site showing the history of the French Point Lookout Tower.