Hike description: It can be challenging to make it all the way up Green Mountain without stopping.
Not because the trail is especially challenging, but because the views just might stop you in your tracks. Much of the hike on Gold Creek Trail is in the woods, but at about 1.4 miles you reach a clear-cut area with unobstructed views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains rising above Hood Canal and Tahuya Lake.
Green Mountain State Forest is a working forest, so it’s not uncommon for logging to impact the area. Sometimes trails are detoured.
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This trail starts with a mellow uphill grade as it travels along Gold Creek before crossing the creek. Once you make the turn at the junction beyond the bridge, the climbing begins.
An unmarked junction about a mile up isn’t shown on some maps. Go either way. The trails reunite after a short distance. The trail to the left is steeper than one to the right. The trail to the right is a bit longer.
After passing through the scenic clear-cut area, you’ll duck back into the woods before reaching the Green Mountain Vista parking lot. There is toilet here, but the road to this lot doesn’t open until June. From here, follow the short path up to the top of the second highest peak on the Kitsap Peninsula. Views from the top also include the Cascades and the Seattle skyline.
The route is well marked and can be extended with other forest trails and roads. Some hikers choose to approach Green Mountain on the Wildcat Trail. To use this trail, start at the Wildcat Trailhead along Holly Road. A round trip on this route is 9.5 miles and gains about 1,700 feet.
Directions: From state Route 3 northwest of Bremerton, take the Chico Way exit and drive south. In 0.7 miles turn right on Northlake Way and continue less than half mile to Seabeck Highway. Go right and follow the highway about 3 miles to a traffic circle and turn left on Holly Road. After 4.2 miles turn left on Lake Tahuyeh Road and continue 1.2 miles to the Gold Creek Trailhead parking lot.
Difficulty rating: 3 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
Miles round trip: 4.8.
Elevation gain: 1,000 feet.
Best time of the year: Year round.
Pass: Discover Pass.
Also: Trails are open to hikers, mountain bikes, horses and motorized off-road vehicles. Green Mountain Horse Camp offers access to 13 miles of trails open to horseback riding. The state plans to open roads to Horse Camp and Green Mountain Vista June 1-Oct. 15. Unsigned trails are closed. Dogs must be on a leash. There are several geocaches hidden in the forest, according to geocaching.com.