Shellrock Peak, a Wilderness Ascent

William O. Douglas Wilderness

Much like Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas himself, I find the wilderness area named after him to be a superb destination for outdoor adventure. Over the decades I have hiked into the wilderness a multitude of times. Sometimes I took a backpack and spent a few days hiking to remote areas. Other times I was hunting elk and mule deer, fishing for brook trout in alpine lakes, climbing Mt. Aix and other worthy ascents, or taking photos of the magnificent landscape.

Shellrock Peak

An interesting destination is the area north of Rimrock Lake. Usually I hike to 6,647-foot McNeil Peak. But, another fun ascent is 6,835-foot Shellrock Peak. The trail takes off from Cash Prairie and heads westerly for about four miles, mainly along ridge tops. The views on a clear day are jaw dropping, beginning with Mt. Rainier dominating the skyline to the northwest. At 6,000 feet the trees are sparse and the wildflowers plentiful.

The last one-half-mile to reach the peak is off-trail and requires some scrambling and uncertain footing on top of extensive rock slopes. It is worth it though, the views are 360 degrees and as good as they get.

As an added bonus, I can’t recall doing the hike without seeing mountain goats, elk and deer. But, I don’t remember seeing another hiker. It’s truly a gem for someone who wants to follow in the footsteps of a Supreme Court Justice.

A small lake underneath Shellrock Peak

Mt. Rainier


Mt. Aix and the Rattlesnake Mountains

The final off-trail climb to the summit

Alpine wildflower garden

McNeil Peak with Goat Rocks in distance







Categories: Washington Cascades Hikes, William O. Douglas Wilderness HikesTags: , ,

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