See also

The Greatest Prominence Points of the

Washington Counties


by John Roper

Finished 8.2.1994, written 1998

When our son, Aaron, was born in 1993, Karen and I needed a new and entertaining, but subdued mountain list to pursue, one that could include the baby boy. Luckily, that year Andy Martin compiled such a list, enumerating the highest point in every county in Washington. Many of these summits were perfect for Aaron, a newborn fifth generation Washingtonian. Andy's phone number was on his list, and after looking it over, I gave him a congratulatory call.

Andy told me that he had compiled similar lists of the county high points for about half the US states at that time, mostly in the west and NE, as well as the Mexican states, and the 54 National Parks of the US. Now, by 1998, Andy and his friends have found the high points of nearly all of the 3140 counties in the US, and his book, County High Points , will surely drive many a fanatic peak bagger ecstatic. Send him $13 (2011 price includes S&H) at 3030 N Sarsaparilla Pl, Tucson, AZ 85749 for your own copy. (Now in 2004, every US CoHP has been identified, and there is an inspired national band of zealots going after every one, even those in the flat states. See and be prepared to be amused.)

Andy identified all of these high points by reviewing maps at the University of Arizona library in Tucson, starting from large scale, 1:1,000,000, and honing in to nail them down on the 7.5-minute (1:24,000) quads. He did Washington in about 15 hours. Pretty amazing, when you consider that our state has around 1440 7.5-minute quads.

The list delighted me. As a climber, I'd already picked off some of the county high points without even knowing it--those in counties with volcanoes and high non-volcanic peaks. And Steve Fry's list of the 100 Highest Peaks in Washington with 2000 Feet of Prominence had taken us to several more of the high Olympic and eastern and southern Washington county summits. But I still had 21 county high points to do when I first scanned Andy's gift in 1993.

To make these trips more culturally entertaining, we also visited the county seat of each county to contemplate the town, soak up some history, and photograph the county courthouse. Some of these buildings are quite impressive, and a few are award-winning architectural wonders (e.g., Pacific, Jefferson, Spokane, Columbia, Douglas, and Franklin Counties, to name a few).

The following descriptions provide a thumbnail guide to each county high point. Mileages are approximate. In addition to the USGS maps listed, Forest Service (FS) maps, and DeLorme's Washington Atlas and Gazetteer (buy one!) are extremely helpful, even vital, on the approaches. With a DeLorme Atlas and the pages and coordinates listed below, you can easily locate the county summits, and get a pretty good idea of how to access them.

FAIR WARNING: This is an "armchair guide,” an offering for amusement, not for action. Many of these peaks are potentially life threatening, or are on private property. Adequate training for the real mountains, and owner's permission for ones on private property are required. Consult the Cascade Alpine Guides and the Climber's Guide to the Olympic Mountains on the "serious peaks." Respect private land. (By 2004, conditions on several WA Co HPs have changed from below, most notably for Grays Harbor, Pacific, and Wahkiakum Counties. See for updates.)

The counties are listed alphabetically, with the name of the high point (HP), its elevation, USGS 7.5-minute quad, DeLorme Atlas coordinates, County Seat (CS), and route description shown. Unofficial names are in parentheses.

ADAMS County. Karakul Hills (2100'+). USGS Karakul Hills. DeLorme: p71/C7. CS: Ritzville. An eastern Washington wheatfield, named for a sheep of central Asia, or the loosely curled black wool from its lambs. Take exit 231 off I-90, east of Ritzville. Follow Tokio Road to Ziemer Road. On our "climb," we waited for the farmer to finish plowing the summit and asked permission to walk his dirt field 0.7 miles from the road to the top.

ASOTIN County. Ray Ridge (6185'). USGS Saddle Butte. DeLorme: p43/D5. CS: Asotin. This spot elevation mark is actually a smidge into Garfield County, so Asotin's HP is maybe 6183' or so, but definitely higher than a 6170' control point just SE. From FS Spur Road 4030 to Diamond Peak (see Garfield Co), turn south in 0.15 miles, then continue another 0.7 miles (passing Misery Camp). Walk the last few feet to the top rather than taking your macho machine to the highest driveable WA Co HP.

BENTON County. Rattlesnake Hills (3629'). USGS Maiden Spring. DeLorme: p38/A2. CS: Prosser. We punctured a gas tank on the first attempt at this summit from the west, then returned a few months later to try it from the east, following DeLorme's Atlas north out of Prosser to the "Well" on Bennett Road. A fence and wildlife reserve sign stopped the car short of the east summit. A perfectly walkable road leads to the top. Crickets, sounding very much like rattlesnakes to those with imaginations, caused some worry.

CHELAN County. Bonanza Peak (9511'). USGS Holden. DeLorme: p98/C1. CS: Wenatchee. The highest non-volcanic peak in the state and overall the most challenging WA County HP. Logistically, it involves a boat or plane ride up Lake Chelan to Lucerne, then a bus ride to Holden village. The Mary Green Glacier can be nasty late in the season, and the summit rocks are friable and steep, usually requiring a rappel down. Figure on 3 days, roundtrip.

CLALLAM County. Gray Wolf Ridge (7218'). USGS Tyler Peak. DeLorme: p77/A7. CS: Port Angeles. A good-enough looking peak early in the year with snow, then it dries out too much. It's a scenic hike up the Baldy trail from the Dungeness River, and then along the NE ridge crest of Gray Wolf to the summit.

CLARK County. "Sturgeon Fin" (4120'+). USGS Bobs Mountain. DeLorme: p23/BC6-7. CS: Vancouver. This cohp was one of the most delightful finds we made (1994) on this whole list. Leave I-5 at Woodland and drive to Yacolt and beyond to Sunset Falls Campground. Follow FS Road 41 south to FS Road 4109, a rough road, navigable in a city car with a cavalier driver to its bermed end. A stunning flowered meadow walk on an abandoned road leads to the top of Silver Star Mountain (4360+). Just west is a striking, slightly-cocked basalt fin that looks precisely like a sturgeon swimming straight at you. The words "Sturgeon Rock" are located at a point erroneously misplaced on the maps, so I would to suggest the name "Sturgeon Fin" for this point just east of the Clark County highpoint. Just west of what should be Sturgeon Rock (4160+), Clark County reaches its apogee. This was Aaron's first overnight campout in a tent.

COLUMBIA County. Oregon Butte (6387'). USGS Oregon Butte. DeLorme: p42/D3. CS: Dayton. The highest peak in SE Washington and the Washington Blue Mountains. The summits here are simply bumps on high ridges. It's the grand-canyon valleys that drop from the ridges that make this part of the state noteworthy. Drive SE out of Dayton, to Eckler Mtn Road to FS Road 46 to Godman Campground, then east to the end of FS Road 4608. A 3-mile trail goes on to the summit, which sports a little red lookout house.

COWLITZ County. Goat Mountain (4965'). USGS Goat Mountain. DeLorme: p33/C6. CS: Kelso. A rocky-wooded hump 6 miles SW of Mt Saint Helens. From Cougar, drive up FS Road 81 past Merrill Lake, to Goat Marsh Lakes trailhead. From the west lake scramble SW to a saddle SE of the summit, then up the ridge (with a class 4 bush-rock move on the crest, or somewhat easier bush-rock just right of the crest) to the south ridge. Better do the 4960+ foot contour N of 4965 too. Goat is a little harder than it looks. The approach from the west is surely easier.

DOUGLAS County. Badger Mountain (4254'). USGS Orondo. DeLorme: p83/D7. CS: Waterville. Once a local ski area. This massive squatty summit does look a little like the back of a badger. Private property. One way up is via the final headwater-draw of Rock Creek from the Badger Mountain Road, then through cow-pied sagebrush fields to the top. Two brass benchmarks atop are stamped "Ski." There are two more closed contours at 4240+ that have been determined to be lower than the land at 4254'.

FERRY County. Copper Butte (7140'). USGS Copper Butte. DeLorme: p117/C5. CS: Republic. The highest of a number of non-descript wooded humps cuddled by the lovely Kettle River, and distinct as the last of the 7000+ foot Co HPs. Drive east over Sherman Pass on HW 20 and turn north on FS Road 2030 (N Fk Sherman Creek) to an historic trail that leads up the east slopes to the north ridge.

FRANKLIN County. "Benjamins Butte" (1640'+). USGS Washtucna South. DeLorme: p55/C6. CS: Pasco. Private wheatfield. Drive 2 miles south of sleepy Washtucna to Nunamaker Road, then another mile to the farm shown on the map (house and multiple out buildings, including an airplane hanger). Franklin County is on a farm owned by Dale Ross. Ask permission to drive the road SE-E as close as possible to the objective (the 500 meter contour). This is where I finished up the High Points of the 39 Washington Counties (on August 2, 1994) in freshly-plowed, ankle-deep Palouse loess soil.

GARFIELD County. Diamond Peak (6379'). USGS Diamond Peak. DeLorme: p42/D4. CS: Pomeroy. A farther east continuation of the ridge from Oregon Butte (HP of Columbia Co), separating the Tucannon and Wenaha Rivers. There is a 6360+ contour WNW of this summit which may be higher. Better do it too. Drive about 34 miles south from Pomeroy on HW 128 to Mountain Road to FS Road 40 to its highest point at the very headwaters of the Tucannon River. Then turn west on FS Road 4030 to its end. Follow the 1-mile trail to the top.

GRANT County. “Ulysses S. Hill” (2899'). USGS Rattlesnake Springs. DeLorme: p68/A2. CS: Ephrata. A high, rolling sagebrush hill on private property. Using DeLorme's Atlas, find Overan Road, north of Quincy, either over the top of Beezley Hills (for the best area views), or up Lynch Coulee. The final summit "road" (two tiretracks in a field) takes off just W of the powerlines in Section 22.

GRAYS HARBOR County. "Wynoochee Point" (4880'+). USGS Wynoochee Lake. DeLorme: p60/A4. CS: Montesano. A bump on the west ridge of unnamed Peak 4949, west of Capitol Peak where the east county line crosses the ridge in the far NE corner of this quad. Drive 40+ miles north from Montesano past Wynoochee Lake. This road is gated for wildlife protection until April 30 (in '94), one mile north of the lake. Continue on FS Road 2270 then Spur 300 up Copper Creek to a 3500' pass. Climb another 1400 feet through fairly open timber SE to the Co HP.

ISLAND County. "Camano Crest" (580'+). USGS Camano and Juniper Head. DeLorme: p95/C5. CS: Oak Harbor. Whidbey Island and Camano Island make up this county. According to Andy Martin, who inspired this madness, this is the lowest county high point in the entire western US. There are actually five bumps at exactly this same 580+ foot contour, all very close together, all on private property. Drive on to Camano Island from Stanwood and head south to Island Crest Way. The summits are located off EZ Duzit Road and Sequoia Road. This was Aaron's first Co HP at less than 2 months old.

JEFFERSON County. Mount Olympus (7969' ). USGS Mount Olympus. DeLorme: p76/B3. CS: Port Townsend. The king of the Olympics, of course, and the farthest west Washington County HP. The approach involves a looong 17-mile hoof in, up the Hoh River and Glacier Creek. The Blue Glacier can get pretty icy. The summit rocks have stopped the faint-hearted. See the Olympics guide.

KING County (and KITTITAS County) . Mount Daniel (7960'+). USGS Mount Daniel. DeLorme: p81/D7. CS: Seattle. The only Washington peak that is the HP of two counties. Drive to near the end of the Cle Elum River road from I-90 and Roslyn, then take the trail to Peggys Pond. Climb up snow or rock slopes over the east summit, past the middle summit, to the highest, west summit, a hands-on scramble.

KITSAP County. Gold Mountain (1761'). USGS Wildcat Lake. DeLorme: p78/D2. CS: Port Orchard, Ann and Lee's home. This is a user-unfriendly mountain. Multiple roads access the top but are gated low and negatively signed, protecting Bremerton's watershed and various TV and communications towers. Let your conscience be your guide.

KITTITAS County. Mount Daniel (7960'+). See KING County. CS: Ellensburg.

KLICKITAT County. Indian Rock ( 5823'). USGS Indian Rock. DeLorme: p26/A2. CS: Goldendale. A sprawling pancake summit north of Goldendale. The cluster of rocks 500' ENE of the 5823 benchmark is probably a little higher. A rough road (for a city car) snakes up the east ridge of this HP from Satus Pass, along the boundary of the Yakima Indian Reservation. Walk the last few hundred feet from a spur, south to the summit for sweeping views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood.

LEWIS County. "Big Horn" (8000'+). USGS Walupt Lake. DeLorme: p35/A5. CS: Chehalis. The final 10-foot rock pitch, a vertical, class 5.4 crack, makes this the most technically difficult move on the easiest route up any of Washington's county high points. From 3 miles south of Packwood, drive up Johnson Creek to hike the trail from Chambers Lake into the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Hike into the idyllic headwaters of the Cispus River (see cover of July '98 P&P), and just beyond to Cispus Pass. Carefully scramble steep junky gullies to the SW base of the peak to make the last athletic move.

LINCOLN County. Lilienthal Mountain (3568'). USGS McCoy Lake. DeLorme: p87/A7. CS: Davenport. There is no question as to what the HP is in this flat county. Access to this peaklet might be over private property. There are several approach possibilities here. One is from the NW near Fort Spokane, walking a gated road to the top of west "Li'l Lilienthal" (3320+) then east another mile to the summit.

MASON County. Mount Stone (6612'). USGS Mt Skokomish. DeLorme: p77/D6. CS: Shelton. This is one of the 2000-foot prominence peaks. Drive up the Hamma Hamma River road and take the rough Whitehorse Creek (Putnam) trail to Lake of the Angels. The climb continues x-c up and down the SW slope and ridge to a final rock move near the top.

OKANOGAN County. North Gardner Mountain (8956'). USGS Silver Star Mtn. DeLorme: p112/D4. CS: Okanogan. The king of the Methow River. A lot of climbers try this more than once before getting it, since the usual north ridge route is a little more tricky than advertised. We did it over Abernathy Peak on a 3-day Memorial Day weekend. Long, but not technically difficult.

PACIFIC County. "Pacific County HP" (3000'+). USGS Blaney Creek. DeLorme: p31/A5. CS: South Bend. A shaved hill on Weyerhaeuser land which gives surprisingly great 360 degree views to Oregon, Hood, Willipa Bay, the Olympics, Rainier, St Helens and Adams. From Pe Ell, drive south to the Weyerhaeuser HQ and get permission, instructions, and a map on the road route up the Chehalis River to Thrash Creek and on to the summit. Expect a little confusion, and take your bike, just in case.

PEND OREILLE County. Gypsy Peak (7320'+). USGS Gypsy Peak. DeLorme: p119/A7. CS: Newport. The highest peak in eastern Washington, east of the Columbia-Okanogan Rivers, and located in the farthest NE corner of the state. It's the best looking peak in this part of the state. Drive east out of Metaline Falls past Sullivan Lake on FS Roads 22, 2220, 2212, and Spur 200 to a pass between Leola and Gypsy Creek. Follow the Cromwell Ridge Trail 1 mile, then head x-c a long 2 miles to the summit. The 7309' WC (witness corner) is just shy of the summit.

PIERCE County. Mount Rainier (14410'). USGS Mt Rainier West. DeLorme: p48/B2-3. CS:Tacoma. To mountaineers, no more need be said. Easiest route: From Paradise it is preferable to slog up past Camp Muir to Ingraham Flats. "Sleep" here, if you can. Get up at midnight and follow everyone else to the top and back. 2 days round trip. Anticipate headache, nausea, cold toes, and exhilaration.

SAN JUAN County. Mount Constitution (2407'). USGS Mount Constitution. DeLorme: p108/C2. CS: Friday Harbor. The most magnificent marine view in the US. Take the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island and follow maps and signs on paved roads to within a few steps of the summit which sports an impressive stone castle-like lookout built in the '30s.

SKAGIT County. Mount Buckner (9112'). USGS Goode Mtn. DeLorme: p98/A1. CS: Mt Vernon. Buckner cradles the largest glacier in the lower 49 states (outside of Rainier). The map shows the HP as the NE summit, though most climbers stop at the potentially lower, closer 9080+ SW summit, happy that the guidebook fudges this point up to "est. 9114 feet." The easiest route is from upper Horseshoe Basin which can be accessed by a potentially dangerous downclimb from Sahale Arm, or a brushy upclimb through a spectacular waterfall-headwall from Stehekin River/Basin Creek.

SKAMANIA County. "Skamania Pinnacle" (8920'+). USGS Mt Adams West. DeLorme: p34/C4. CS: Stevenson. Until its May 18, 1980 eruption, “old” Mount St Helens (9677') was the County HP. When the Big Blast blew its elevation down to 8365 feet, a non-descript spot on the east boundary of the county, on the west ridge of Mount Adams, above the Pinnacle Glacier, became the HP by pure luck. The quickest way is from the west via a trail off FS Road 23 between Noname and Twin Falls Creeks to Burnt Rock, then up easy snow and volcanic rock slopes.

SNOHOMISH County. Glacier Peak (10520'+). USGS Glacier Peak East. DeLorme: p97/D7-8. CS: Everett. The wilderness volcano. This is generally a two-day trip, via the White Chuck River-Kennedy Hot Springs-Sitkum Glacier route. Experienced climbers have died on the glissade down. This was my first Co HP, June 25, 1967.

SPOKANE County. Mount Spokane (5883'). USGS Mount Spokane. DeLorme: p89/A8. CS: Spokane. The only county HP where the county, the county seat, the high point, and the quad share a common name. Drive the paved road (HW 206 and spur) all the way to the summit from HW 2, a few miles north of Spokane.

STEVENS County. Abercrombie Mountain (7308'). USGS Abercrombie Mtn. DeLorme: p119/A5. CS: Colville. Just west across the Pend Oreille River from Gypsy Peak, Abercrombie is the culmination of a high ridge between that river and Deep Creek/Columbia River. Drive east out of Leadpoint up Silver Creek to find a pleasant hike via an old lookout trail.

THURSTON County. Quiemuth Peak (2922'). USGS Eatonville. DeLorme: p47/B6. CS: Olympia. This summit, recently named by the Washington State Board on Geographic Names, is best seen from Alder Lake where the Eatonville cut-off road connects with HW 7. From Elbe, go south 2+ miles to Pleasant Valley Road which becomes FS Road 74. Follow this to FS 7409 to the end of spur 017, then walk crosscountry to the top for good views to Alder Lake and the Olympics.

WAHKIAKUM County. Huckleberry Ridge (2673). USGS Skamokawa Pass. DeLorme: p31/B6. CS: Cathlamet. Drive HW 407 up Elochoman River north from Cathlamet to Weyerhaeuser Road 700 which goes up the West Fork. Hope the gate is open. Drive, walk, or pedal to another gate a quarter mile from the top, continuing on to nice summit views into Oregon and the lower Columbia. New logging and road building were going on in 1994, which may allow access from a little farther up the North Fork Elochoman River.

WALLA WALLA County. Lewis Peak (4888). USGS Deadman Peak. DeLorme: p42/D1. CS: Walla Walla. A wooded knoll near the east county line. From Minnick on HW 12, NE of Walla Walla, take the Lewis Peak county road to its end--a grassy flat area. A jeep road (cabled and signed "No Trespassing" in ‘94) continues a short half mile to the summit.

WHATCOM County. Mount Baker (10781'). USGS Mount Baker. DeLorme: p110/B2. CS: Bellingham. Washington's most beautiful volcano, say some, and the highest peak in the Skagit River drainage. Strong parties can day-trip the most popular routes (Coleman Glacier route from the SW, and the Easton Glacier from the south). The tricky, veiled crevasses on Baker and summer avalanches have killed people here.

WHITMAN County. Tekoa Mountain (4009'). USGS Tekoa Mtn. DeLorme: p73/C8. CS: Colfax. A long, broad, woods-crested mass rising above the Palouse. Drive 1.5 miles W on HW 27 out of the town of Tekoa, finding a somewhat rough gravel road that goes almost to the top before a gate guarding a communications center makes the last few feet a walk.

YAKIMA County. Mount Adams (12276'). USGS Mount Adams East. DeLorme: p35/C5. CS: Yakima. The second highest peak in the state is easiest from the south (Cold Springs campground). Horses used to trudge up to a summit lookout. The ski down in early season is a classic.

Our family and friends found this project to be entertaining, educational, and athletic. We learned a lot about the geography, architecture, and history of the state, and met many fine folks. Washingtonians are blessed with a diverse, interesting, and unique state and people.



Introduction to County High Pointing in Washington

By John Roper

Written for the Highpointers club who are having their convention in Washington July 23-24, 2004 (


Washington's 39 county high points range from the sublime to the ridiculous. We have a wonderful state up here with all sorts of fascinating topography, so there's something for everyone. The WA cohps could be classified in groups.  For additional information see the trip reports and maps at .


The Volcanoes

Mount Rainier, the most dominant mountain in the lower 48, draws the state highpointers here. Our other four volcanoes, Baker, Glacier, Adams, and Saint Helens top out Washington's next four highest counties, or used to, before Saint Helens blew on May 18, 1980 and relinquished her crown to a kiss-your-sister liner on the shoulder of Adams.


The Real Mountains

Bonanza Peak 9511' is the highest non-volcanic peak in the state and has the reputation of topping one of the hardest counties in the contiguous US to climb. Mountaineering skills including rock and/or glacier experience are also required on Buckner, North Gardner, “Big Horn” (Lewis cohp), Olympus, Daniel, Gray Wolf, and Stone.


Eastern Washington and Columbia River Mountains

This group includes a number of gentle, but pleasant woodsy rollers north of the Columbia River: Gypsy Peak, Abercrombie, and Copper Butte, and four along the Oregon border in the Blue Mountains above the Snake River: Oregon Butte, Diamond, Ray Ridge, and Lewis. Along the Idaho border are Mount Spokane, a paved drive-up, and Tekoa, a rough drive-up. Other cohps rising above the Columbia include Lilienthal, Badger, Rattlesnake Hills, and Indian Rock.


The Logging Counties

Southwest Washington has been mauled by clearcuts, including the flanks of Grays Harbor cohp (a liner), Pacific cohp, Huckleberry, Goat, and Quiemuth.


The Island Counties

Mount Constitution is a very special place, possessing the “finest marine view in America.” Camano Island is known for its 5 closed contour silliness, private property, and nettles. Gold Mountain is the cohp of Kitsap, almost an island.


The Wheat Counties

Rolling wheatfields top the highest land in Adams and Franklin Counties, and Grant County is a sage hill.


Unique County

“Sturgeon Fin” is a cute little basalt cockscomb on the Clark County line, approached via a trail through a glorious wildflower meadow (the result of a 1902 forest fire), and would be my recommendation for a group climb at the convention.



Washington CoHP Completers