Dow Mountain by Lake Cushman via Price Lake in Olympics / 道山

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Dow Mountain by Lake Cushman stands south of the shorter Saddle Mountain in the Olympic Mountains. The summit gives no views. But one can always enjoy the landscape through the nearby open areas within the logging territory.

Dow Mountain above the logging debris
Dow Mountain above the logging debris

See more trip photos here.

Dow Mountain at a Glance

Access: Prices Lake Road
Round Trip: 4.1 miles
Elevation Range: 940′-2514′
Gear: none
GPS track: available

Dog-Friendly: on the road

The Preface

One of my goals for 2019 was to explore more of the Olympic Peninsula. So far this season, we’ve been to the peninsula five times. And that accounted for half of our trips since 2010.

We didn’t have much luck with views last week because of the poor weather. And I didn’t think we would see much today since Dow Mountain is short in height. Plus, it boasts a forested summit.

A cloudy start
A cloudy start

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Dow Mountain Road

We arrived at Dow Mountain Road in the early morning. The “Lake Cushman Maintenance Company Members Only” sign didn’t look inviting. Even with the handful of climbers’ entries, the signage made it feel otherwise. As we left the residential area, the movie “Get Out“‘s opening scene played in my head.

I had no backup plans. I also didn’t feel like going to places we had visited in the last few years. Then I came across a report suggesting going up via Prices Lake Road. The map also showed that north of Dow Mountain was state property. So I decided to try entering from there instead.

Leave tree area
Leave tree area

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Approaching via Logging Debris

We drove past the first fork on Prices Lake Road. Then, I turned right onto an unmarked logging path at the next junction. It looked like logging had ended long ago, but the roadway was still in great shape. We then drove to the road’s end through two long switchbacks. The vegetation was still damp from yesterday’s rain.

After leaving the car, we scrambled southbound through a massive amount of logging debris. So it took a while to get up to the service road above 1600′. There were sights of Lake Cushman and Price Lake en route. I was glad to have come this way despite the annoying down trees. A much longer road walk would’ve been the other option.

A little bit of Price Lake
A little bit of Price Lake

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Navigating Through Logging Roads

Despite the slew of logging roads here, the main roadway couldn’t take us up to the east shoulder. So we picked the type 2 route and went southeast on the debris slopes. Soon, we came upon a path on the ridgetop that ended abruptly by the drop-off.

Ugh! The ridgeline wasn’t continuous. And none of the side roads were on the map. But then I saw a roadway down by the Sund Creek drainage. Seconds later, I noticed another one above my eye level. And it was going toward Dow Mountain summit. But to get there, we first needed to make it down to the saddle through more debris.

This way to Dow Mountain summit
This way to Dow Mountain summit

See more trip photos here.

Moving Southwest on the Ridge

The road by the dry creekbed wrapped around the ridgeline. So we followed it to the west of the ridge. But it didn’t take long to realize that the roadway would end in less than one-eighth of a mile. So we turned around and went back to the pass.

Walking the road to the south of the mountain meant that we would be descending. So we didn’t go that way either. Instead, we scrambled uphill alongside a quarry and reached the upper roadway from the saddle. Then we followed it up almost to the end. From there, we quickly located a defined trail and entered the forest.

Mount Washington
Mount Washington

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Dow Mountain Summit Plus Outro

Just past the 2400′ elevation, the trail intersected an old roadbed. Then we moved through the brushy roadway and arrived at the top in 1000′. As expected, it was a forested summit. Smack in the middle was a clearing surrounded by trees on all sides. We stayed long enough to change the wet layers and took some photos.

I decided not to go through the minor ridgetop again on the way back. So at the saddle, we scrambled down to the main road shown on the map. Then we walked a quarter of a mile back to where we intersected the roadway earlier. Going down 600′ through the rubble wasn’t as painful. Soon, we were back at the car by the road’s end.

A little bit of Puget Sound
A little bit of Puget Sound

See more trip photos here.

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