Dosewallips River Trail
Dosewallips River to Bear Camp: Old-growth forests lead to alpine meadows high above Hood Canal
Dosewallips River to Bear Camp
Length: Up to 23 miles (or more) roundtrip
Best Time of Year: Mid-Summer to Early Fall
Elevation Gain: 2400 feet
Start at the Dosewallips ranger station and begin the fairly easy trip up the north side of the Dosewallips. Take a right at the fork about one and a half miles in. Almost every mile, a small stream cascades across the trail to join the river below. Numerous lunch spots abound and turnaround options are available for families with small children here. For those who want to continue the trek, the first 8 miles of the hike are in fairly dense but highly varied forest, at about the 8 or 9 mile mark the trees begin to give way to open meadows and views of the surrounding peaks and passes. Bear Camp at 11.5 miles sits in a small band of trees between two meadows. As the name implies, bear sightings are frequent here.
From Bear Camp you have a number of options for continuing the hike. Either follow the trail up to Hayden Pass, another 2.4 miles and 2000 feet up, or back track slightly and head up to Grey Wolf pass. Grey Wolf is a steep 3.5 mile 3000 foot upward trail, but the meadows you walk through are divine when the wild flowers are out. At the top you get a commanding view of the Dosewallips Valley, as well as a number of spectacular peaks. Be aware that often the trail is covered with blown down trees, which sometimes aren't cleared until late June or July. Over the pass lie two small alpine lakes for exploring and camping. This hike in its entirety is a great 2-day adventure or a hardcore one-day for you slack packers.
Take the Dosewallips Road west off of Highway 101, just south of the town of Quilcene. The first half of the road is paved, but in the 10 miles of gravel road there is a truly amazing uphill section...don't get stuck there. The road ends at the Dosewallips Summer Ranger Station 16 miles from Highway 101.
For More Info See:
Maps: USGS The Brothers, USGS Mount Deception, USGS Wellesley Peak
Books: 100 Hikes in Washington: South Cascades and Olympics, Pacific Northwest Hiking, Olympic Mountains Trail Guide: National Park and National Forest, Best Loop Hikes in Washington
Websites: Washington Trail Association website located at www.wta.org