McDonald Mountain by Sugarloaf Mountain via Kangley / 麥當勞山

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McDonald Mountain perches above Green River by Sugarloaf Mountain. It spans 7.5 miles from Kangley in the northwest down to Howard A. Hanson Reservoir in the southeast. Since 1913, the dam has been the primary water source for Tacoma, Washington.

McDonald Mountain lookout
McDonald Mountain lookout

See more trip photos here.

McDonald Mountain at a Glance

Access: Kent Kangley Road
Round Trip: 13.5 miles
Elevation Range: 940′-3570
Gear: snowshoes
Route Info: summitpost.org
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface on McDonald Mountain

“April showers bring May flowers,” they say, as we’d see more rain the rest of the week. So on the spur of the moment, I decided to go on an afternoon hike under today’s partly sunny weather. It’d be a new place close to home. When the pup and I arrived close to noon, two other cars were by the blue DNR gate.

The trail crossed several small streams lower down before going through two long switchbacks. Views to Cedar River Valley emerged at 2100′, with Rattlesnake Ledge in the front and Mount Si in the background. Then we went onto a road leading to the lookout site.

View from radio lookout
View from radio lookout

See more trip photos here.

Walking the Roads

Roads were dry until continuous snow showed up a mile before the borrow pit. So I put on snowshoes at 3100′, and we made a pit stop at the 3280′ lookout site. There the views of Green River Valley were expansive from the haze. We retraced to the fork and followed the largely snow-free trail south of the crest.

A wooden bench placed at the first clearing made another perfect stop. We took in views of Mount Rainier and more of Green River Valley. Soon, the trail ended around the bench, where we went onto another service road. We began walking north of the crest from here.

Northwest view
Northwest view

See more trip photos here.

McDonald Mountain Summit Views

We walked a few hundred feet before snow showed up again. So I put the snowshoes back on for the rest of the hike up to the top. North of the ridge was a lot colder for being mostly in the shade. There wasn’t much to see other than the spotty views from two small lookout areas.

My suspicion of it being woodsy was accurate. Even so, the only opening out into Green River Valley was broad. It offered views from the Olympic Peninsula down past White River Valley. Sadly, Mount Rainier and the peaks inside MRNP were not visible.

Thanks for another safe outing
Thanks for another safe outing

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The afternoon temperature rose to the low to mid-60s, the warmest day of this week. On the way down, we moved quicker by making only a few stops for photos. Then we returned to the car right at sunset time.

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