Mt. Mitchell on a Beautiful Fall Day

On the last day of summer a few years ago, I drove to the Mt. Mitchell trailhead. On that day, the roundtrip climb to the summit was 6.2 miles with 2,100 feet of elevation gain, moderate but steep. As a side note, access to this trailhead has now been closed, requiring a much longer route to the peak these days.

It is the highest of three sharp fangs of rock approximately nine miles south of Mt. St. Helens. At one time there was a fire lookout on Mt. Mitchell, but it was destroyed many years ago. However, it’s easy to see why the fire lookout was built here. The views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and the surrounding area are spectacular. 

Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier above the Lewis River from Mt. Mitchell

The Trail switchbacks up the timbered north side of the mountain before winding around to the south side for the final ascent to the top. Once it reaches the south side, the Trail passes through large beargrass meadows. I’ve seen elk in the meadows in past years and fresh bear sign, but not this year. The only wildflowers remaining in bloom were gentians and a small daisy. But, the shorter days and colder nights had begun the process of turning the vine maple leaves their bright autumn colors.

What a great way to spend a day!

Nearing the summit

Gentian (one of the few truly blue flowers in the world) and a daisy

Summit sign-in box

Vine Maple

Mt. Adams over the Lewis River from Mt. Mitchell

View from summit

A hazy Mt. Hood from Mt. Mitchell




Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags: ,

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