Kitsap County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: March 9, 2008
Author: Edward Earl

I first climbed Gold Mountain in August 2003, but I failed to visit one of the points that I later learned most highpointers agree is the HP. As a new resident of WA I plan to complete the cohps of that state in the next year or two, so I decided to pay a second visit to Gold Mountain and lay to rest any questions about reaching the Kitsap county HP (and future state completion).

There are two approaches to Gold Mountain. The south approach is a hike or bike on a gated logging road for its entire length. For the west approach, one parks at a state park trailhead and begins the hike on the trail, connecting later with the logging road to the summit. I prefer the west approach because of its greater recreational value. In the past, there was a second reason to prefer this approach: concern about trespassing in the watershed area for the city of Bremerton (so that one could park a car on public-use land and not arouse suspicion by the authorities). As explained later, however, trespassing is no longer a concern.

From WA-3 about 3 miles N of its closest approach to Bremerton, take exit 41 onto Chico Way and head W. Note or zero your odometer here. At 0.5 miles, turn right on North Lake NW Way. At 0.9 miles, veer right onto Seabeck Hwy Spur NW just before a Union 76 lube shop. At 3.9 miles, turn left onto NW Holly Road. At 8.0 miles, turn left onto Tahuyeh Lake NW Road. At 10.8 miles, pass a small railed-off parking lot on the left side with signs saying that the Gold Creek trailhead has moved mile in the direction you are now heading. The promise is kept: at 11.0 miles on the left side is a brand new trailhead with a well-graded gravel parking lot, restrooms, a signboard with park maps and regulations, and a horse loading dock. According to my GPS, the trailhead is located here; and the road to it is paved, contrary to what Topozone suggests.

The trail splits immediately after its beginning but rejoins within a couple of minutes. It meanders up a clear cut that has been replanted with young fir trees. When the trail enters the forest above, there is a signed junction but the sign only says that the trail goes both left and right; it does not provide any destinations. Turn right at this junction and head uphill through the forest. At 1100 feet, the trail tops out at the edge of a clearcut at a turnaround at the end of an unmapped logging road. A sign prohibits ATV use here. Follow this road SE for about mile to the sharp switchback in the mapped logging road just W of the center of section 28. Continue uphill on this road. After about a mile, turn right at a 4-way junction where a gated, No-Trespassing-signed spur road continues straight ahead to the 400-foot tall TV tower atop point 1687. Occasional signs along the side of the road warn visitors to stay off of Bremerton watershed property, but they do not preclude passage on the road itself. After a total of nearly 3 miles on the mapped logging road, one arrives at the summit area.

There are three radio facilities atop Gold Mountain, with spur roads leading to the first two. The highest point, which I failed to visit last time, is reached by an overgrown roadbed that angles slightly right from the second junction. The roadbed degrades to a footpath that heads straight uphill to the right, eventually topping out on an open, moss-covered knob with a large stump on top. Visibility between this point and the other contenders at radio facilities to the E and W of it is very limited, but after some sighting, GPS work, and reconciliation with the topo map, I agree with others that this is definitely the HP of Kitsap county.

Logging and watershed property were once an access concern for Gold Mountain, but these concerns have vanished. Although there is still some indication of current logging activity, it seems to have decreased since my first visit in 2003. Some clearcuts that appeared to be active in 2003 are now planted with young fir trees. "No Trespassing" signs for the watershed, which were prominent and appeared to apply to the main road in 2003, are now less conspicuous and appear to apply only to off-road travel. During my hike, I encountered a party of two other hikers and their dog high on the mountain, as well as a biker. Recreation appears to be a legally sanctioned use of the road to the summit of Gold Mountain.