Palmer Mountain
Guide

Introduction

Consisting of over 6,500 acres, Palmer Mountain is one of the many gorgeous areas in the Pacific Northwest. It is located in Skykomish, Washington, directly northeast of Seattle. The entirety of this public land is managed and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. There you will find lush trees that turn beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow during autumn.

The entire area is surrounded by mountains, making for beautiful sunrises and sunsets. If you enjoy the great outdoors, you will love Palmer Mountain. For adrenaline junkies, there is mountain biking, hiking, and rafting down rivers available to you. There are more laid back activities as well such as wildlife viewing, horseback riding, and kayaking. Palmer Mountain does offer six campsites available for visitors, but there are plenty of campgrounds in the area with more room.

As if you need any more reasons to visit the area, Palmer Mountain has thousands and thousands of wildlife flowers that paint the landscape from the beginning of spring until July. If you enjoy photography, this area makes the perfect background for a variety of photos.

RV Rentals in Palmer Mountain

Transportation

Driving

Getting to Palmer Mountain is easy compared to other mountains in Washington. If you're coming from Seattle, you can easily jump on the I-405 North to reach Palmer Mountain. Highway 2 is another common route to take for those coming from either the Everett or Leavenworth areas. The closer you get to Palmer Mountain, the more confusing the roads become.

Eventually, you'll reach a fork in the road, which you should keep right on. Depending on the recent weather, you may be able to take this road directly to the entrance and park. That's the best-case scenario. More realistically, you take that road as far as you safely can and park when you can no longer drive further. Many times there are downed trees in the way or snowdrifts that make driving unsafe.

These roads are also gravel which can make things a bit tough. When you arrive at Palmer Mountain, there are a variety of different ways to get around. If it's warm, you can travel on foot, mountain bike, or on horseback. During the winter you can travel via skis, foot, snowboard, or horseback.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Palmer Mountain

Campsites in Palmer Mountain

First-come first-served

Palmer Mountain

By far the easiest place to camp during your visit is at Palmer Mountain itself. There you will find campsites that are available year-round. There are three primitive campsites in total, each of which is equipped with fire rings and picnic tables. It's important to note that there isn't a restroom available and that there isn't any drinkable water. For this reason, it's crucial to bring your own supply of water, especially during the summer.

All pets must be kept on a leash at all times. Due to the No Trace Left Behind Act, Palmer Mountain enforces campers to pack out all trash and pick up any litter that they may come across. You can take part in several activities including photography, wildlife viewing, fishing, and hiking. Staying there allows people to be surrounded by beautiful aspen trees and most campers would agree that Washburn Lake isn't a bad sight to wake up to

Money Creek Campground

Open from the end of May until the end of September, Money Creek Campground is a beautiful place to stay for those visiting Palmer Mountain. Camping is available for both RV and tent campers. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are many amenities at Money Creek Campground. You will have convenient access to vault toilets, potable water, and picnic tables while staying there. Money Creek Campground doesn't have any hookups for RV campers.

Each campsite there is located right on the side of the river and is surrounded by towering trees that provide the perfect amount of shade during the summer. During the winter, Money Creek Campground is a popular location for skiers and snowboarders to stay. Staying here will give you a clear view of Mount Baker and the summit, Grant Peak. With plenty of wildlife in the area to keep you entertained, this is the perfect place to stay for animal lovers.

Miller River Campground

Miller River Campground is best for people who are traveling with families or in groups. It is open from the end of May until the end of September. This is a very popular campground, if you're looking for seclusion and privacy, this may not be the best option. Camping there is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Many people visiting Palmer Mountain enjoy staying at this campground dense woodland scenery.

There is potable water available from hand pumps and there are also vault toilets available. Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table and a fire pit. Because this campground is located on the Miller River, you will have easy access to fishing and hiking. The sound of the rushing river also provides a relaxing soundscape to fall asleep to. If you're visiting Palmer Mountain, this is a beautiful place for you and your loved ones to rest your heads.

Seasonal activities in Palmer Mountain

In-Season

Water Activities

There are several different areas on Palmer Mountain to enjoy a day on the water. You can go to Crater Lake, South Fork Skykomish River, or Miller River, to name a few. The rivers are best for white water rafting or floating.

On Crater Lake and other still bodies of water, you can go kayaking, fishing, or just enjoy a day relaxing on a floaty. Take a dip in the lake to cool off and you have yourself a perfect summer day!

Hiking

If you like to exercise, hiking is another great activity that you can enjoy during your stay at Palmer Mountain. There aren't very many man-made hiking trails, but the entire area is yours to explore on foot.

At the base of the mountain, the land is better suited for those wanting a casual walk. There are also steep hills and areas that are perfect for visitors wanting a more intense hike. Pack your favorite pair of hiking boots to have the best experience possible.

Hunting

Hunting is another popular activity for those visiting Palmer Mountain. It's important that before you open fire, you make sure that you have the proper licenses necessary to hunt in Washington. The most commonly hunted animals in the area are grouse, coyotes, and bears. You may also see deer, elk, or moose while you're in the area.

Be sure to clean up any shells or cartridges to keep the area as clean as possible.

Off-Season

Biking

Along the base of Palmer Mountain, many people enjoy a bit of mountain biking. Bring your own set of wheels and make sure they're durable enough for tough terrain. This is a fun way to see the sights around Palmer Mountain.

If you're traveling with an adrenaline junkie, this is the perfect activity for them to enjoy during their visit. Just be sure to pack the necessary safety gear to prevent any unwanted injuries.

Fishing

Are you traveling with an angler? Maybe you enjoy a bit of fishing yourself. Whatever the case may be, Palmer Mountain is the perfect place to cast a line and catch yourself dinner.

South Fork Skykomish River is packed with a variety of different types of salmon including pink salmon, chum salmon, and more. There are also steelheads and trout in the river as well. Get your Washington fishing license online or in-person before casting a line.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a lovely way to explore Palmer Mountain. This is a laid back and relaxing activity that the entire family will enjoy. There aren't any stables in the area that rent out horses, but you are more than welcome to bring your own.

Be sure to have plenty of water to keep your horse hydrating if you're riding during the summer! It's important to also be aware of other animals that are in the area.