The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
User avatar
K.Wagner
Posts: 645
Joined: June 2nd, 2013, 1:25 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by K.Wagner » April 20th, 2016, 8:35 pm

This last Saturday (4-16-16), Don Nelson & myself scaled mighty peak 2229
2229-MSH.jpg
(well, OK, climbed over some logs, then we walked up the gated 10 road, but then we had to scale the cat road around the clear cut. That counts doesn't it??). We had good intentions of also doing peak 3970
3970-2229.jpg
which is the summit immediately east of Mt Mitchell. But, somehow after doing the first one, and then looking up 2,200+ feet at the next one, the will faded.
I did want to walk up the "old" Mt Mitchell (or as the state calls it, Mitchell Peak) trail a ways, to see how it was holding up with zero maintenance.
14-Mitchell Pk TH-S.jpg
I was pleased to see, that except for minor tree debris, it seems to be holding up well. We were, however, rather surprised to see flagging and signage about a timber sale, about 1/3 mile up the trail.
17-Timber sale sign-S.jpg


When I got home, I wrote to the WA DNR office, inquiring about this sale, looking for assurances that the trail was going to be preserved. Mr. Marcus Johns very graciously took time to quickly respond and forward my inquiry to the unit forester, who supplied him with this information:
The timber sale proposal you are asking about is called Swift Mitchell Sorts VRH VDT and is on trajectory for auction in May of 2017; VRH = Variable retention harvest; VDT=Variable density thinning. Currently the sale proposal is in the early planning and sale layout phase so the final product has yet to be determined. Some boundaries are marked, as you saw, and some are yet to be finalized.

The Mitchell Peak trail runs extensively through the harvest proposal area and will be impacted by road construction and harvest operations. This trail would have to be closed during operations as there are no re-route options due to difficult terrain and adjacent private ownership. The trail will be disrupted by the operation and will require rehabilitation/repair with equipment and hand tools. This work will be included in the timber sale contract and reviewed with the harvester during the pre-work conference that precedes road construction and harvest activities. It is then incumbent upon the assigned Contract Administrator to make sure all activities are completed prior to closing the contract and releasing the harvester form their obligations.

The lead forester (person setting up the sale) for the project will be working closely with one of our region Recreation staff while designing the sale units and prescribing rehab/repair needs. This collaboration is standard procedure when recreation opportunities interact with timber harvest activities.

I hope this answers your questions.

Marcus Johns, DNR
So, what I glean out of his letter:
1) The trail is going to be preserved
2) There will be roads build
3) The trail will be closed during the harvesting operations, then rehabilitated / repaired
4) This will be a "selective" cut, not a clear cut
5) It is scheduled to go to auction in a year
6) (from a subsequent exchange) Nothing will change in regards to the public access on the 10 road.

Oh, for anyone interested, it is now about 4 1/4 miles and 1,350 feet of climb up to the Mitchell Peak trail head.
Kelly
There is no shortcut to anyplace worth going to.

PM me about the soon to be released:
Skamania 231
"How to really get off the beaten path in Skamania County"

User avatar
Don Nelsen
Posts: 3749
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Don Nelsen » April 26th, 2016, 6:20 pm

Kelly, thanks for documenting our hike!

I hope to go back soon and explore the possible trail connector between the end of the spur road leading east from the 6000 road that goes north of the mountain to the west of Mitchell and may connect with the trail that leads to the west of the Mt. Mitchell Trail. It is sad that one landowner has the power to close such a large area to hikers or at the least make it very difficult for us. I hope a route can be found to help alleviate this problem but even more, I hope a resolution can be found to allow access to the original TH. In any event, here's a map of what I know so far and if this pans out, it may be an even better route than the original: Other interested parties for this adventure are welcome, of course - just chime in.

Image

BTW, here's a few pics of Mt Mitchell from that mountain to the west, aka P 3726:

Image

Image

Image

All the pics are here:

http://www.fototime.com/users/donnelsen ... %204-18-16

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

RobFromRedland
Posts: 996
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by RobFromRedland » April 27th, 2016, 4:24 am

K.Wagner wrote: 3) The trail will be closed during the harvesting operations, then rehabilitated / repaired
Hopefully this will come to pass and the contract administrator will make sure it is completed. In the past, there have been instances that although this was in the contracts, the work never was done and the trail was lost or heavily damaged.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

Webfoot
Posts: 1301
Joined: November 25th, 2015, 11:06 am
Location: Troutdale

Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Webfoot » April 27th, 2016, 5:25 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:In any event, here's a map of what I know so far and if this pans out, it may be an even better route than the original: Other interested parties for this adventure are welcome, of course - just chime in
If that route goes how long would the hike be? I see a possible trailhead at 46.0227, -122.2415; is that the anticipated start?

User avatar
Eric Peterson
Posts: 4082
Joined: May 11th, 2009, 5:39 am
Location: Oregon
Contact:

Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Eric Peterson » April 27th, 2016, 6:46 pm

I'd be into something around there, been intrigued for a few years now with old Mitchell Peak TH closure...

User avatar
Don Nelsen
Posts: 3749
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Don Nelsen » April 28th, 2016, 7:03 am

Webfoot wrote:
Don Nelsen wrote:In any event, here's a map of what I know so far and if this pans out, it may be an even better route than the original: Other interested parties for this adventure are welcome, of course - just chime in
If that route goes how long would the hike be? I see a possible trailhead at 46.0227, -122.2415; is that the anticipated start?
Yes, that's the end of the road and a good parking area. The existing trail heads east from there. This would be about a 7 mile round trip hike with about 1800 to 2000 feet of total EG. K.Wagner did it on the way to Mt. Mitchell a few weeks ago, but lost the trail and had to bushwhack about 3/4 mile. The more eyes on the ground, the better, though.
Eric Peterson wrote:I'd be into something around there, been intrigued for a few years now with old Mitchell Peak TH closure...
Glad to have both of you on the adventure! I'd like to give it a try Sunday - weather looks perfect.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

Webfoot
Posts: 1301
Joined: November 25th, 2015, 11:06 am
Location: Troutdale

Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Webfoot » April 28th, 2016, 11:43 am

I don't know if "both" included me but I am not up to a hike that length. Actually I've never made a hike that length due to a bad back. However I wish you success, and maybe some day I'll make it up there. Perhaps if I had a pack animal to carry a bed for me to rest upon half way up. :geek:

User avatar
Don Nelsen
Posts: 3749
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by Don Nelsen » April 28th, 2016, 6:25 pm

Webfoot wrote:I don't know if "both" included me but I am not up to a hike that length. Actually I've never made a hike that length due to a bad back. However I wish you success, and maybe some day I'll make it up there. Perhaps if I had a pack animal to carry a bed for me to rest upon half way up. :geek:
Yes, of course you are included in the "both". I have back problems myself (two major operations and "severe" arthritis in my lower back to add to the misery) so I understand what that is all about! This has slowed me down but not stopped me, of course, thanks to Tylenol, etc. Rest assured, we go pretty slow these days and take lots of rest stops.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

stush
Posts: 3
Joined: November 26th, 2010, 8:40 pm

Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by stush » April 28th, 2016, 8:23 pm

The trail up to Mt. Mitchell used to be one of my favorite hikes in the area until they closed the access road several years ago. I applaud your efforts to find your way to the old trailhead. Last summer, I and some trusting friends made our way up Mt. Mitchell the hard way from the North Siouxon Creek trailhead which made for a very long day, especially having to bushwhack our way on a long-abandoned trail. However, the summit payoff was well worth it. Hopefully, the northern route to Mt. Mitchell will be re-opened some day.
Attachments
4-28-2016 9-15-38 PM.jpg
Siouxon Creek_28_resize_resize.JPG

AKguy80
Posts: 5
Joined: April 20th, 2015, 9:32 pm

Re: The "Old" Mt Mitchell Trail

Post by AKguy80 » April 29th, 2016, 4:16 pm

Those are some nice pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Some questions for those of you who are familiar with the area and were able to get to any of the trails for Mt Mitchell.

1) If you go to the gate "old" route, would parking just outside that gate cause issues with those land owners, who seemed to indicate they did not want trespassing for hikers trying to get to the old trail?

2) I've tried to get to the other North Sioxon trail route, and the road coming in from the south (from 503 and then east) was intentionally blocked off by boulders and large stumps/ logs. Is the northern route still accessible?

It is bizarre to me that most of the routes to Mt Mitchell have become increasingly more difficult to access.

Post Reply