Storm King Mountain is a mid-elevation peak located in Lewis County, Washington. Due to it being a lowland mountain that is heavily logged and a virtual labyrinth of logging roads as a result, many people might avoid the peak. However, the mountain is one of Washington's peaks with at least 2000' of prominence and has spectacular 360-Degree views from its summit. The peak is also advantageous to peakbaggers because it can be summited during any season of the year, although the season and conditions might greatly affect which route options are most viable.
Northwest Ridge/Side Of Storm King Mountain
It is possible to summit Storm King Mountain via nothing more than logging roads leading to the summit, albeit such all-road routes are over 20 miles roundtrip and would be best attempted via a hiking/biking combination. However, nearly all people summit the peak by combining on-road travel with some off-road travel. The off-road travel tends to be completely non-technical, although many slopes near the summit are very steep and might require an ice axe if attempted when snow-covered.
OLD STANDARD APPROACH:
Old Standard Approach Map
This approach has historically been used by the most peakbaggers, although it is also the longest route option available. The route begins east of Mineral and near the West Fork Timber Company. The route follows the Mineral Creek logging road and Gallup Creek logging road (both heavily used and in good condition) and then up a spur road to the upper east ridge of Storm King Mountain, and finally a short bushwhack up the final 500' to the summit area.
1) Driving from the corner of Mineral Road and Front Street, head east along Front Street (which soon changes its name to Mineral Creek Road) for 1.3 miles until reaching a gated logging road on the south side of the main road. Park outside of the gate, making certain not to block or partially-block the road.
2) Hike or bike south along Mineral Creek logging road for 4.3 miles, until reaching the road junction for Gallup Creek logging road.
3) Veer right (SSW) onto Gallup Creek logging road and follow it for approximately 2.3 miles, until reaching a spur road on the right (west) side of the road that switchbacks uphill.
4) Follow the spur road uphill as it switchbacks towards the upper east ridge of Storm King Mountain. The road reaches its highest point after approximately 3.1 miles at 4250' elevation.
5) Begin traversing off-road up the upper east ridge of Storm King Mountain for approximately 0.3 miles until reaching the summit (4750').
Summit Area Of Storm King Mountain
ROUNDTRIP STATISTICS: 20.0 Miles with 3350' vertical gain.
Northwest Approach Route Map
From the standpoint of the logging companies, this is the other recommended route option and a shorter route than the Old Standard Approach. The route follows a good logging road (which West Fork Timber refers to as "Hobie Road") east until it reaches an upper ridgetop road. Then the upper ridgetop road is followed southward until its end, with a final off-road 600' ascent up the upper northeast ridge to the summit area.
1) Driving from the corner of Highway 7 and Mineral Road North, head south along Highway 7 for 2.9 miles, until reaching a gated logging road on the left (east) side of the highway. West Fork Timber Company refers to this logging road as "Hobie Road", although their company has no access rights to the road and no maps or signs show that name designation. Park outside of the gate, making certain not to block or partially-block the road.
2) Hike or bike east along the logging road, making certain to stay left at the first couple of road intersections. The road continually gains elevation as it heads generally eastward. The road circles around the upper northern end of a north-south-trending ridgeline, and after 4.0 miles from the highway intersects a south-trending upper ridgeline road (2700' elevation).
3) Turn right (south) onto the upper ridgeline road. Shortly after reaching an open saddle at 3350' elevation north of Storm King Mountain, veer right and uphill to continue on the correct road that heads southward up the northeast ridgeline of Storm King Mountain. The upper ridgeline road ends after approximately 3.0 miles (from its beginning) at 4150' elevation.
4) From the road-end, begin traversing off-road up the northeast ridgeline of the mountain. Some sections of the ridgeline are steep and sometimes conditions might be dangerous in the narrow/rocky areas, so it is safer and recommended to enter a steep gully on the west side of the ridgeline (on the other side of a small rockface) and ascend the gully slope to reach the broad semi-open upper northeast slope of the mountain. Once on the semi-open/open upper northeast slope, follow the slope to the summit (4750'), only approximately 0.25 miles from the upper ridgeline road-end.
Looking At Upper Northeast Ridge/Side Of Storm King Mountain
ROUNDTRIP STATISTICS: 14.5 Miles with 3120' vertical gain.
Southern Approach Route Map
From the standpoint of the logging companies, this is another recommended route option with a shorter route than the Old Standard Approach. The advantage of this route is that it completely follows logging roads to the summit, with no off-road travel necessary.
1) Driving from the corner of Highway 7 and Mineral Road North, head south along Highway 7 for 8.8 miles, until reaching logging road (1120' elevation) on the left (east) side of the highway. For reference purposes, the correct logging road entrance is one mile north of Murray Road. Park outside of the gate, making certain not to block or partially-block the road.
2) Begin hiking or biking eastward along the logging road. After 0.3 miles, at the first road junction (located due south of Ladd Pond on maps), turn left (north).
3) Head north along the road for 1.0 mile as it passes by Ladd Pond and then bends around the north end of a minor hill, until reaching a saddle lcoated west of Nineteen Creek.
4) The road forks; take the rightside road. The road crosses over Nineteen Creek and parallels the creek along its eastern side.
5) Continue straight at road intersection at 2570' elevation, crossing back over Nineteen Creek shortly after the road intersection.
6) Continue straight along the road until reaching a road junction at 3600' elevation, shown on maps as only a short distance southwest from Point 3963. Turn right (east) on the road, and then soon turn right (south) at the next road intersection.
7) Head south up the road for 0.4 miles until the next road intersection, which is located on the southwest ridgeline of Storm King Mountain and is shown on maps as only a short distance northeast from Point 4224.
8) Follow the upper ridgetop road northward until reaching the summit (4750').
ROUNDTRIP STATISTICS: 17.0 Miles with 3630' vertical gain.
Western Approach Route Map
The starting point of this route is not officially endorsed by the local logging companies and as of 2012 the ownership of the beginning parcels of land along the route belong to "BL Logging". The entire route currently has no gates, fences, houses, signage, or other prohibitive entities. Once on official logging roads, the remainder of the route is completely legal and acceptable by all parties. The advantage of this route is that it is currently the shortest seemingly-legal summit approach for Storm King Mountain.
1) Driving from the corner of Highway 7 and Mineral Road North, head south along Highway 7 for 4.6 miles, until reaching an unmarked dirt/gravel road (1690' elevation) on the left (east) side of the highway. The road immediately forks; take the right (south) fork. This road is shown on some maps, but there is currently no signage, gates, or fences along it.
2) Drive, hike, or bike along the dirt-gravel road for 0.75 miles. The road first heads south for a short distance, and then east (passing across Tilton River and then railroad tracks), and then north. The road ends at a stream crossing.
3) When approaching the stream crossing, leave the road and head due east in open lowland forest. Cross over the stream (there may or may not be logs across it) and cross through an open slash/logging debris area for a short distance until reaching a major north-south-trending logging road. The off-road section to this point is only approximately 700' distance.
4) Turn left (north) on the major logging road (1770' elevation), hike along it for a short distance (approximately 400' distance), and then turn right (east) at the first logging road intersection. The spur logging road might be marked as Road #483, which is how it will be referenced for the remainder of this route description.
5) Follow Road #483 uphill, northeast to a saddle and then southeast. Leave the road at a major slash/logging debris field (2550' elevation) on the east side of Road #483. It is 0.4 miles to the saddle and then an additional 0.8 miles to the slash/logging debris field.
6) Head uphill and due east across the slash/logging debris towards an evergreen forest on the other side of it. If possible, try to find remnants of a past logging road/track hidden within the debris, to aide the ascent through the debris. Enter the forest and ascend due east, gaining a tiny forested ridge if encountered. Reach an old north-south trending minor logging road at approximately 2750' elevation.
7) Follow the minor logging road north and uphill, soon reaching a bigger logging road. Turn left (northeast) and follow the logging road as it continues gradually gaining elevation while passing by the lower Northwest Ridge of Storm King Mountain. Turn right (east) and uphill at 3030' elevation, and then turn left (north) at the next road intersection (3150' elevation) only a short distance away. Then follow the road for 0.3 miles to a road-switchback (turning right/southeast) and continue following the road for 0.2 miles to a saddle (3350' elevation) on a north-south-trending upper ridgetop.
8) Follow the upper ridgeline road south, continually gaining elevation and keeping right at any road intersections. The upper ridgeline road ends after approximately 0.8 miles from the saddle at 4150' elevation.
9) From the road-end, begin traversing off-road up the northeast ridgeline of the mountain. Some sections of the ridgeline are steep and sometimes conditions might be dangerous in the narrow/rocky areas, so it is safer and recommended to enter a steep gully on the west side of the ridgeline (on the other side of a small rockface) and ascend the gully slope to reach the broad semi-open upper northeast slope of the mountain. Once on the semi-open/open upper northeast slope, follow the slope to the summit (4750'), only approximately 0.3 miles from the upper ridgeline road-end.
ROUNDTRIP STATISTICS (Starting From Highway 7): Approximately 10.0 Miles with 3060' vertical gain.
Multiple logging companies own land on and around Storm King Mountain. Here is a sample land-ownership map from 2012 (courtesy of SP Member Eric Willhite):
Land Ownership Map Showing Western Approach Route
It is recommended to contact local logging companies that have activities on Storm King Mountain prior to visiting the peak, to verify current logging activities and road access/conditions for the main approved approaches.
The most recommended company to contact is West Fork Timber Company, located near the community of Mineral north of the mountain. West Fork Timber Company has access rights to the old standard approach for the mountain via the Mineral Creek and Gallup Creek logging roads.
WEST FORK TIMBER COMPANY:
Only non-motorized access is allowed on the logging roads surrounding and on the peak.
Summit Hill Of Storm King Mountain
No camping is allowed on Storm King Mountain or along any of its connecting logging roads or access areas.
East-Northeast View From Summit
South View From Summit