"Several hundred (possibly even thousands) of people trek to the top of Mount Townsend every year, numbers that are explained by the fact that this lofty peak provides one of the finest views in the eastern Olympics. Though this is perfectly reasonable (the view really is stupendous), in my opinion virtually all of these people do it the wrong way. More than 95% of hikers approach the mountain on one of two trails coming from the east. And while those are nice trails and make for good hikes, they really don’t compare on the scenery scale with the route from the north along view-packed Dirty Face Ridge.
True, the trailhead is a little harder to reach and the trail itself is very steep in places, but if its scenery you desire, then the Dirty Face Ridge route is definitely for you. The backpacker, or really athletic and ambitious day hiker, can turn this into a long and challenging loop trip that visits a lovely little cirque lake tucked beneath a snowy ridge (nice camps) and then returns to the trailhead via Silver Lake Way Trail. Although this unofficial path is unsigned, steep, and rugged, it is nonetheless reasonably easy to follow and makes a good shortcut back to the starting point for experienced hikers."