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
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