In 1926, conservationist and lumberman Charles Lathrop Pack bequeathed a cash gift to the UW's College of Forest Resources enabling the purchase of an initial 334 acres of forestland to be used for research and demonstration purposes. Today, Charles L. Pack Experimental Forest encompasses 4,300 acres of working forestland.
For more than 70 years, Pack Forest has provided a forested classroom for students. Forest management undergraduates at the college spent a quarter of their academic year in residency at Pack Forest. Here they received field training and invaluable skills in a isolated location for work and study with minimal interruption. I lived at Pack Forest for 3 months while working toward my Forest Management Degree. Just before I graduated, the politics of the UW finally overpowered the evil “College of Forest Resources”, dissolved it and the Forest Management Degree, then changed the name of the programs to the “School of Environmental and Forest Sciences” The Pack Forest tradition was gone, no more 3 month training of future Foresters at Pack Forest.
Pack Forest now hosts the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest . The purpose of the Center is to discover, teach and demonstrate the concepts of sustainable forestry, with special focus on advancing the strategic themes of the School. (This is code for Tree Hugging). This new vision and mission (they claim) embrace the historic mission of Pack Forest originally defined 80 years ago. The term “conservation” was used then to describe the concept to be taught at Pack. At that time, “conservation” meant keeping land financially productive through reforestation. While the term conservation is still valid, the School has adopted a much broader vision and mission that focuses on the concept of “sustainability”. (Charles Lathrop Pack just rolled over in his grave).
Pack Forest Lookout - Hugo Peak
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,500+ feet
Summit Elevation: 2,050 feet
Road Access: Paved
From Eatonville, drive Hwy 161 to the junction with highway 7. Turn left in a short distance is the Pack Forest Entrance. A stump is on display of a tree that is 300 years old, the ring marked when Columbus discovered America. Park near the entrance, where the signed Hugo Peak Trail starts.
The Hugo Peak Trail is one of many miles of trails and roads open to the public. The highest point in Pack Forest is an unnamed former site of a lookout. The idea with this hike is to do a loop of sorts. First, hike the Hugo Peak Trail to the summit. Then drop down to Kirkland Pass on the road. This is the central point of Pack Forest. Now walk the "Trail of the Giants" trail to see the Old Growth Forest in the Pack Forest Ecological Area. These trees survived a fire over 200 years ago. At the bottom of the gorge, take the Windy Ridge Trail up, up, up to the highest point in Pack Forest. It is just off the road a bit. Now follow the roadway back down the north side of the highpoint to Kirkland Pass.
In the Classroom vs. Outside of Class
Trail map for all of Pack Forest
Showing the Hugo Peak Trail
Thank you to the other forestry students who shot these pictures. I either lost all my pictures or was just too busy during this time to take photos.
Hugo Peak looking toward the highpoint
Sunset from Hugo Peak
Eatonville from Hugo Peak
West from Hugo Peak
Lawn at the cabins
Views from Pack Forest
Hugo Peak view
Hugo Peak tower climb
Lokoout was a 66' steel tower with 7x7' cab, built in 1929. abandoned in 1950. Was used with the University of Washington's forestry program.