Burnt Hill is just down the road from my house, a foothill of the beautiful Olympic mountains to the south. I didn’t see any trails listed for it at WTA or other sites, but looking at topographical maps I saw some trails or forest roads that looked worth scouting.

Driving to the end of Johnson Creek Road, I found a gated trailhead where Discovery Passes are required. From there it’s a straight, steep climb up a forest road for about 1.5 miles to a fork in the road and a clearing with views of the Sound to the north.

The view north to the Sound, Miller Peninsula, Protection Island and Quimper Peninsula.

Go left to nice vistas of the mountains and valleys to the south. Go right to the summit of the hill at 2400 feet, where there are more limited views and the road ends about 2 miles in.

The view from the clearing near the top of the hill.
Another view of the Olympics.

Most people will turn around here, but I’m not most people. I continued on a dirtbike trail then bushwhacked down the west side of the hill, eventually connecting to trails and coming out on River Road, about 8 miles in total. The trails are mostly unmapped and it’s tricky to avoid an active mine on the west side of the hill (I snuck through it), but that’s all part of the adventure. You can also connect to roads around the north side of the hill and loop back to where you started for a longer hike if you’re not deterred by minor annoyances like “no trespassing” signs.

I only saw a few people on a sunny Sunday in January, including a woman who had pushed a bicycle up the hill and two guys in a four-wheeler. I am very pleased to have discovered this scenic year-round hike in my backyard, and will be returning for further scouting.

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