Welcome to the Mount Mitchell page. No, this is not the peak that is the highest one east of the Mississippi, this is a small mountain that is basically the nearest peak of any significance directly to the south of Mt. St. Helens. Because of this, it has arguably the best views of this side of St. Helens. But wait, don't stop there! Because this peak gives you excellent views of not one, not two, not even three but yes, FOUR, count 'em FOUR Cascade volcanoes. We don't even charge you for the extra 3 on this peak!
Now how much would you be willing to pay to have these views? $100? $500? $1 million? Well ladies and gentlemen, we give you these extraordinary views for only 1.5 hours of your time and a little bit of sweat. How can we do this, you ask? Well, because here at summitpost, we buy mountains in bulk so you can reap the rewards! There's no hidden catches, no tricks up our sleeves! That's right. Just an hour and a half of your time and 2100 feet of elevation gets you: A) a dozen or so switchbacks! B) a trip up a triple-peaked mountain C) a stroll through beargrass meadows near the summit and D) a view of St. Helens so awesome you can pick out climbers with binoculars.
Why don't you come on down and get yourself a Mount Mitchell summitlog today!
We're located just south of the Swift Reservoir in southwest Washington! From Portland or Seattle, just take I-5 to the Woodland exit 21 and go east on Highway 503 for 31.5 miles to Cougar, WA. About 3 miles east of Cougar, watch for an unmarked spur road to the south. It's just a few feet BEFORE the road becomes Forest Road 90. Go about .3 miles and cross a bridge. Take the left fork there. About 1.4 miles down this road, turn right on what used to be marked road 10. Take Road 10 about 2 and a quarter miles to Road 1003. The small white sign marking this may be down in the ditch on the right side of the road pretty hard to see but don't let this dissuade you from continuing. Take this right fork onto Road 1003 and go about .2 miles (stay left at the fork about .1 miles into this road). Watch for the unmarked trail on your right just after an area of logging. As of press time for this mountainpage, there was a small cardboard sign with pink tape marking the trailhead. There is a small 2-car parking area across the road that may help you find it. Shortly after the trailhead the road ends anyway.
See, how easy that is! Come on down to the trailhead today. Operators are standing by.
NOTE! We've been informed here that the road is blocked about 3.5 miles from the trailhead now. (Just after the bridge.) Not sure at this point why or if it will change but this can add an unhappy 7 miles to your round trip. Sorry, folks.
This is another unexpected bonus of this trail. It is just outside the Gifford Pinchot National Forest so there are NO fees. There are NO permits required. The only thing you have to ignore are the signs just off Road 503 that say this area is frequently flooded by the reservoir and to stay out. Everyone ignores this and the area around the bridge and reservoir is a popular recreation area. There is even a large cement floored-area shortly after the bridge that people drive go-karts on.
When To Climb
April through November although the trailhead is only at 1800 feet so it could potentially be year-round.
Look folks, if you have to camp on this one, you are hurting for sure. It's a dayhike. Although you could potentially camp up top in the meadows or the summit crags.
This summit is not valid in 49 states. See participating trailheads. Final assessment of the enjoyability of this mountain is solely the hikers responsibility. All information may be subject to change particularly due to the graphic nature of clearcutting in this area. Travel at your own risk and take risks with your own travel. Taxes, registrations and fees may be levied to be paid to the Brian Jenkins Climbing Fund and are subject to payment without notice. Please email your bank account information to the mountain page maintainer.