“Mt. Rose is a wonderful conditioner with the trailhead being accessible year round.
— James Scott
This route is a wonderful conditioner with the trailhead being accessible year round. It climbs 3500' in just 3.1 miles. In winter the upper portion will be snow covered requiring snowshoes and/or Microspikes, and additional route finding skills.
Open fires are not allowed above 3,500 feet. Stoves only. Most people do not camp on this route. In summer this trail can become hot and dry as it is primarily on a south facing slope.
The trail is a long uphill grind. It gets more interesting after reaching "Horse Camp" where the trail splits into its western and eastern branches. The left branch is the most direct route to the summit. The right branch ascends more gradually and follows a ridge to the summit. Many people will do a complete loop incorporating both branches. Most do it in a clockwise direction to enjoy the view of Mt. Ellinor and Washington as you traverse along the ridge.
The forested trail is quite pleasant, though the ascent and descent is steep. There are great views to be had when you can peek through the trees.
You will travel through a forest of Douglas-fir (psuedotsuga menziessi), western hemlock (tsuga hetrophylla) and silver fir (abies amabilis). The understory is primiarly salal (gautheria shallon) with some rhododendrons (rhododendron albiforum) and huckleberries (Vaccinum sp.).
"Horse Camp" and nearby "Bear Camp" probably were established when there was a resort on Lake Cushman. The resort provided horse trips into the forest and probably supported trips to the top of Mt. Rose and adjacent Mt. Ellinor.