Mt. Jupiter

My first visit to Mt. Jupiter was on a blazing hot day at the end of June in 2003. This day was forecast to be in the upper 70s but not the mid 90s. Suzanne joined me for this trip. This was a little ambitious as we backpacked 47 miles with 11500' of gain earlier in the week and just had two days to recover. Jupiter is a real leg stretcher as it covers 14 1/2 miles round trip with 4400' of total gain. 400' of the gain is coming out when you are already tired.

We headed north to Edmonds to catch the 7:10 ferry to Kingston. From there we drove to Quilcene and then 13.5 miles farther south to the Mt. Jupiter Road. The road has a small sign on a post but we missed it at first and had to turn around. Soon after my earlier visit the trail was closed for several years of logging. It just reopened this spring. Each of the road junctions now have signs pointing to the trailhead. The trailhead is in the same place as it used to be.

When we arrived there was one other car in "the lot". By "lot" I mean a wide spot at the end of the road. No trees and so good views from the start. An uphill road is gated and the lower road quickly reaches the trailhead board. There is a rocky slash covered trail heading off directly to the right of the bulletin board. That is the trail. We were not sure at first. The first 700' of gain is in this giant clear cut. I was glad we were on the trail by 9:10 and ahead of the heat. Expect to wade through some slash and over some logs in the clear cut section.

Once at the top of the clear cut we entered forest and all was good. Rhododendrons were along much of the next 5 miles of trail. They were nearly finished down low but near their peak higher on the mountain. Neglecting to read my own old trip report I forgot just how flat the middle of this hike is. After entering the forest the next several miles net almost no elevation gain though there are ups and downs. There are no views either after entering the forest. No problem. They are waiting higher up.

We made good time although there were many photo stops for the flowers. I had no idea this would be a very good flower hike. We saw paintbrush, a few lupine, columbine, tiger lilies, queen's cup, stonecrop, beargrass, and more. Somewhere around four miles we reached the viewpoint. A little bare point just off the trail gives great views out to The Brothers and points south. We took a short food and water break there.

After the viewpoint the trail finally begins to climb. The Brothers Wilderness is soon entered. The route leaves the thick forest and begins a traverse on the south side of a rocky point. Beargrass really became thick from this point on up. Rhodies mixed with beargrass was an interesting site. The last mile makes up for all the gentle hiking. The trail begins to switchback up increasingly open slopes.

At one point a ridge is reached with views to a lake below on the other side. The summit is not seen until you are getting close to it. Some clouds began to drift in and dropped the temperature enough to make it very comfortable. At long last we topped out on the 5701' summit. Though not that tall by Olympic Mountain Standards, it is far west and directly across from Seattle. From that vantage point it appears to be a very tall peak. The Brothers had been in a cloud earlier but were now in the clear. Mt. Constance never did come out of the clouds.

We had a late lunch and ventured over to the north side of the summit area. From there we could look down on the Jupiter Lakes. We found no snow on our route though the north side of the mountain still has some. A short way before the top we met one woman coming down. She turned out to be the only other person on the mountain this day. Suzanne lost her sunglasses on the way up. We mentioned this and back at the car we found that Susan had picked them up and returned them. Very nice.

We spent 45 minutes on top then headed down. After the first steep mile the rest of the way is gentle on the knees. The final clear cut did leave me with a few bloody scrapes. For the most part it is just a long way down. We took far fewer photos coming down. The result was a much quicker return. It took us 3:40 going up and 2:43 coming down. Nearly an hour less.

This turned out to be a far more lonesome hike than I was expecting. The weather was excellent. Warm but not too hot. Haze blocked out Seattle from the summit but we could see the tall buildings from the parking lot at the bottom. Baker, Glacier Peak , and Rainier were in the clear though we never did see Mt. Constance. A very nice day for a long summit ramble. To top it off it was 77 degrees on 7-7-07 when we reached the car. A detour to Seqaim and a long wait for a ferry meant we did not get back to Edmonds until 9:15 pm. It turned out to be a full day.

Suzanne has her trip report with photos posted here:   Nwhikers Mt. Jupiter Report


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Photo Page 2

Trips - 2007