Dow Mountain by Lake Cushman / 靠庫什曼湖的道山

One of my goals for the year 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 the trips since 2010. We didn’t have much luck with the views last week. And I didn’t think we’d see anything today since Dow Mountain is short in stature.

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

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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

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 peakbagger.com entries, the signage made it look otherwise. As we were leaving the residential area, all I could think of was the opening scene from the movie “Get Out.”

I had no backup plans. And I also didn’t feel like hiking up to something we had visited within the last few years. Then I came across a report suggesting the north approach via Prices Lake Road. The map also indicated that the north side of Dow Mountain being the state properly. So I decided to try entering from there instead.

A cloudy start
A cloudy start

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Approaching via Logging Debris

We drove past the first junction on Prices Lake Road. Then at the next fork, I made a right onto an unmarked logging road. 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

The spur logging roads were a dime a dozen. The main road couldn’t get us up to the east shoulder. So we picked the type 2 route and went southeast on down debris-infested slopes. It was more annoying for the pup than it was for me. Soon, we came upon a road on the ridgetop. But then it 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.

Entering the forest
Entering the forest

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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, from the saddle, we scrambled uphill alongside a quarry and reached the upper roadway. 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 out wet layers and took some photos.

On the way back, I decided not to go through the minor ridgetop again. 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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