Lyman Hill (Photo Taken By Paul Klenke)
Lyman Hill is a mountain located in Skagit County, Washington. Misleading by its name, Lyman Hill has more importance to mountaineering than a general outdoor enthusiast might initially realize. With a prominence of 3400’ elevation, Lyman Hill is the 36th-most prominent peak in Washington. An interesting side-note is that of the 49 most prominent peaks in Washington, Lyman Hill has the lowest total elevation. Considering Lyman Hill is only ~4300’ elevation total, the peak can be considered as a type of Napoleon
, a peakbagging term indicating a low-elevation mountain with a high percentage of prominence.
Lyman Hill, as seen from near the city of Mount Vernon
With a long broad ridgeline, Lyman Hill largely looms northeast of the city of Sedro-Woolley. Lyman Hill is a popular destination for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), hunters, and mountain bikers, but not much for hikers. The mountain slopes have been heavily logged over the years, and the mountain itself is a mixture of dense forests, logging debris, and a virtual labyrinth of old logging roads. Lyman Hill is not technical to summit, and poses little-to-no avalanche danger on most of its slopes during snow months. The true summit elevation has been disputed by many peakbaggers, as the summit has a 40-foot closed contour ranging between 4280’ elevation and 4320’ elevation. For the purposes of this Mountain page, the safe choice (4280’) was used as the elevation. Lyman Hill is named after the nearby town of Lyman. The town was named in honor of B.L. Lyman, the first postmaster in the region during the 1800s.
Lyman Hill, as seen from Whacme Mountain...
The different standard summit approaches each have good aspects and bad aspects about them. The old standard summit route, used for years by summiters of the peak, was to follow (usually via mountain biking) numerous logging roads up the southeastern slopes to the summit. However, although this summit route option has offered the least-technical ascent, the route is also approximately 25 miles roundtrip. The newer summit route, in contrast, heads up the western slopes to the summit and is approximately half the roundtrip distance of the older approach. However, the newer approach also involves traversing steep slopes through thick, logging debris-filled forests.
Thick Forest On Western Side Of Mountain
Lyman Hill is located on the east side of Highway 9, between the city of Sedro-Woolley and the town of Doran. Directly west of the mountain, on the other side of Highway 9, is another peak with prominence over 2000’ elevation: Anderson Mountain. It is possible to summit both peaks during a single day, but it would make for a very long day if hiking was the only traverse method used. With the assistance of a mountain bike, summiting both mountains during a single day becomes much more plausible. The prospect of having two non-technical, low-elevation 2000’+ prominence peaks so near each other might be an enticing trip idea for dedicated peakbaggers.
Evidence Of Past Logging On Mountain
On a clear day, the Lyman Hill summit and ridgetop offer fantastic views of the surrounding areas. Anderson Mountain, the San Juan Islands, Twin Sisters, and Mount Baker are all very noticeable during good weather days. The Lyman Hill summit has a communications facility stationed on it, most likely as a result of being the most prominent and overseeing peak in the immediate region.
Communications Facility On Summit
OLD (SOUTHEASTERN) APPROACH:
As previously mentioned, the old-fashioned way to summit Lyman Hill is via logging roads leading up the southeastern slopes. The old standard (southeastern) approach begins at the town of Hamilton, a few miles east of Sedro-Woolley:
1) From Highway 20, turn north on Scott Paper Road.
2) Once on the northern side of town, turn right onto Crown Pacific Mainline Road.
3) Once a gate is reached, find a place to park on the side of the road.
4) After approximately three miles along Crown Pacific Mainline, turn left (west) onto Scott Paper 110 Road (forest road).
5) Follow Scott Paper 110 Road west along the southern end of Lyman Hill, and then north to the ridgetop.
6) Continue following the ridgetop road, passing by a false summit (Point 4046 on USGS maps) until reaching the true summit (~4300’ elevation).
The old (southeastern) summit approach has approximately 4000’ elevation gain and is approximately 25 miles roundtrip.
NEWER (WESTERN) APPROACH:
The newer standard (western) approach is described here
. The western summit approach has approximately 3820’ elevation gain and is approximately 11-12 miles roundtrip (depending upon exact variation taken). These driving directions start from the intersection of Highway 20 and Highway 9 in the middle of Sedro-Woolley, WA:
1) Drive north on Highway 9 for 6.2 miles.
2) Turn right onto Hathaway Road.
3) Drive along the road for 0.8 miles, until reaching the gate at the beginning of the Forest Road.
4) There is a small automobile turnout on the side of the road just prior to the gate. Park there.
Lyman Hill (Photo Taken By Grant Myers)
There are no parking permits, hiking permits, or fees applicable for hiking Lyman Hill. However, it is recommended to have a Northwest Forest Pass (parking permit) used so that the vehicle does not appear abandoned.
There is a radio facility located at the summit of Lyman Hill. Touching the radio facility, or entering any of its fences or buildings, is strictly forbidden and punishable by law.
Regardless of which summit approach is taken do not drive a vehicle beyond any gate, even if a gate is open. People driving and parking on the forest roads beyond the gates do so at their own risk, and the gates might be closed and locked at any time. Non-logging and non-utility recreational public access to the logging roads is allowed for non-motorized use (hiking, snowshoeing, mountain biking), although ATVs and dirt bikes have been known to be widely popular on the mountain and ATV trails can be found scattered throughout the ridge.
Unofficially, there is no camping allowed on Lyman Hill due to private land and forest roads on the mountain.