Mt. Stone is a 6,612’ mountain in the Olympic Mountain range. It’s the high point of Mason County and a popular destination for scrambling and hiking.
The hike to the summit is no small feat, requiring steep hiking, Class 3 scrambling, loose rock, screen, and sometimes snow travel. This is a fantastic Washington hike that isn't to be missed if you're in the area or you enjoy scrambling.
While it may not be one of the state's tallest mountains, it is still a really interesting climb. Much like Hoodoo Peak, its relative simplicity means its often overlooked.
Directions to Mt. Stone
Follow the map below to make your way to the Putvin Trail to Mt. Stone:
Mt. Stone Trailhead
The trailhead is an incredible mountain hike that is reached by driving down Hamma Hamma Road from Highway 112. It takes about 25 minutes to get from the highway to the trailhead pullout (about 12 miles).
The Mt. Stone trailhead is the Putvin Trailhead that’s used to access Lake of the Angels and Mt. Skokomish. It is on the opposite side of the road from a gravel parking lot pull out that holds about 20 cars. The pullout is one of the largest on that side of the road and is hard to miss. You'll see the trailhead sign on the opposite side of the road where the hike starts.
Hiking Mt. Stone
The first part of the hike to Mt. Stone takes you from the trailhead along a gently rising path to the left of Boulder Creek. The trail gains elevation as it moves around several enormous boulders covered in moss. Although the trail isn't as interesting as it will be later it's still really beautiful if you take the time to appreciate it!
Here are the statistics of the hike including the mileage, elevation gain, time required for the out-and-back hike, and how difficult the hike will be in comparison to other hikes in Washington.
As you gain elevation, the view gets better and better! Before too long the trees open up and you'll get views of the surrounding peaks. This includes the really beautiful Mt. Pershing that looms across the valley.
Hiking to the Pond of the False Prophet
You will also dip down into two river beds before starting a leftward traverse along the side of the slope. A relatively easy uphill section follows that takes you to the point where this first section of the trail meets with the old logging road.
Turn left here and walk down the road a short distance until you see a wooden sign directing you to the right and up towards the trail that takes you to the Lake of the Angels.
This next section of the trail is fabled among Olympic National Park hikes for its unrelenting difficulty. It gains a great deal of elevation in a short distance. THere are sections that climb over roots, around trees, over downed trees, and sometimes the path is hard to see. But, it never disappears entirely.
If you take your time and enjoy the relatively flat sections, it’s not really that bad. Plus, it’s over fairly quickly.
You’ll soon find yourself winding through the tall brush before one of the best parts of the trail, a rocky and root-covered scramble up to the meadow. In 2021, a permanent rope was present in this area that allowed hikers some assistance when navigating these rocks, this was particularly helpful if the rocks were wet. As of the end of August 2022, the rope is gone.
It’ll only take you a few minutes from here to reach the Pond the False Prophet, a pleasingly named, dirty, entirely unimpressive body of water that you would certainly not want to drink from. There are tons of tadpoles here so stop and take a look!
After the Pond of the False Prophet, you’re going to diverge from the trail, heading straight rather than veering left. From here, you’ll face one of the hardest parts of the hike, navigating up and through an unusual tunnel of slide alder.
The path itself is clear, but several low-reaching alder branches and many more on the left and right are annoying obstacles. If you’re especially unlucky, this area may be actively running with water. Power onward, as the section of the trail, should only take about 20 minutes to get through. Another brief section of the wooded trail that is slightly hard to follow ends with your first clear-ish view of Mt. Stone.
You’ll head up the hill, following the poorly defined trail and cairns when you need to. Eventually, you’ll find yourself at a relatively large boulder field. For most, plowing straight through the boulder field towards the hills in front of you will be the best course of action. But, it also seems possible to go above or below the boulder field.
Looking beyond the boulder field, you should be able to see a lightly defined path through scree, sand, and rocks that heads up left of the giant rock face that is mountain stone. This is what you’re headed towards, so as long as it’s still in your sight, you’re not going to get lost.
Once you make your way over to the sandy path, follow it up through several switchbacks and continue looping around the left side of Mt. Stone. This part of the hike goes on for longer than you might expect.
Keep going back along the left side of Mount Stone and then go a little further, and a little bit further. There will be cairns to guide you until you see a very large, distinct cairn elevated on a small plateau slightly above you to the right. This marks the beginning of the scramble.
The scramble begins through a small dihedral with very easy, class two at most moves. A small steaming section onto another small plateau is one of the more difficult obstacles to tackle here, but it is still not quite class three. You will climb over a notch with an interesting chockstone opening and see the true summit of Mount Stone ahead of you. In front of you, you will have your last bit of the hike, a traverse along a rocky slope on the left side of the basin.
The summit, and the path, or straight ahead of you. But, you may have one further obstacle to tackle, a small moat or bergschrund that is present in the late season along with a snowfield that never seems to melt.
At times, this moat can present a significant challenge, requiring hikers to walk on top of it, on a sketchy feeling cornice, or climb inside and walk within it until you can climb out the other side. Neither of these options are particularly pleasant.
But, if you go late enough in the season, especially in a hot year, the moat may present nothing more than a small surprising patch of snow to walk around.
Navigate around the moat in whichever way suits your skill level and the conditions. On the other side, follow the no fairly easy-to-see path toward the headwall.
There is more than one different commonly used way to get to the summit of Mount Stone from here. It’s best to observe both paths to the top and choose one depending on your skill level. Both are around Class 3-. After your final bit of scrambling, one small section covered in loose rock leads you to the fairly broad summit.
From here, if you’re not socked in with clouds, you should be able to see Mount Pershing, Mount Skokomish, Mount Cruiser, Mount Ellinor, Mount Washington, the Brothers, and, far in the distance, the glaciated Mount Olympus.
Most hikers take the same way down that they took up but make sure to observe all the rock features around you for what seems easiest and most intact.
After reaching the cairn at the base of the start of the scramble, continue back around Mount Stone, down the scree, and, if you want, across the boulder field and back down the alder path. But, there is a second way down from the summit, one that takes you down towards Lake of the Angels and then back onto the more frequented path.
Tips for Hiking Mt. Stone
Here are a few tips that may help you have a more successful, and enjoyable hike up to Mt. Stone
Be prepared. By some metrics, including the well-loved Washington Scrambles book published by The Mountaineers, the scramble to the summit of this peak is graded five out of five for difficulty, making it an “expert” level undertaking.
Go when it’s cool and shady. The vast majority of this hike is in the sun. And even the sections that aren’t bake in the humid forest of Mount Skokomish Wilderness. We highly recommend going on a day where you know it’s going to be cool or even overcast. Even if you have poor reviews, you may have a better time overall than you would if you were battling constant sun.
Camp and add in Mt. Skokomish. A lot of this trail is unpleasant. Why not camp the night at Lake of the Angels (you need a permit!) and hike up Mt. Skokomish the next day?
Beware of the mosquitos and biting flies! We all know mosquitoes love water, especially dirty water that sits in the sun all day. Do yourself a huge favor and wear tons of bug spray and bring more for a friend in need.
Camping Near Mt. Stone
There are a few nearby camping areas that you might make use of near Mt. Stone. Along Hamma Hamma Road are two unreservable, first-come-first-come campgrounds that visitors usually make use of. Here are our recommendations of camping near Mt. Stone:
Lena Creek Campground
Lena Creek Campground is one of the first-come-first-serve campgrounds near Mt. Stone.
It's a relatively small site where all the camping areas are located around a ring road. Some are more isolated than others but make sure that you pay the requisite fee before setting up camp. It's around $15 a night.
Free Camping Hamma Hamma Road
If you don't want to pay to camp in either of these campgrounds you can also make use of a few dispersed camping areas along the road. Keep your eyes open for sites along the side of two bridges. There are also small sites that you can pull off into on the way to Mt. Stone.