Duckabush River Hike

Estimated time-frame for 6/22: 8:00AM-5:00PM (later if dining out)

Departure time from 512 P&R: 8:15

Stop in Gig Harbor (Kimball P&R): 8:45 (depart 8:50)

[Those meeting us at Kimball P&R: Tracey, Pauline, Marty]

ETA at Duckabush River Trailhead: 10:30-10:45

Need a pass? You can purchase Northwest Forest Passes at a nearby REI, Big 5, Sportco (Fife), and on the USDA website (see below). If the Ranger Station in Quilcene is open, you can purchase daily or annual passes there. However, it may be closed due to recent sequestrations. Please plan to purchase your pass BEFORE hiking day!

Northwest Forest Passes online:!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPwhQoY6BdkOyoCAPkATlA!/?ss=1106&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=null&navid=200100000000000&...

Forecast for the day (Brinnon, WA): High of 72. 10% chance of rain. [updated 6/21]


Duckabush Trail has reopened to hikers. We will hike up the Duckabush River Valley to Big Hump. The WTA and National Forest Service have been hard at work restoring this trail following the 2011 fire.


Hike/trail description: {WTA}

Explore one of the quieter Olympic Peninsula river valleys. Quiet, that is, if you don't count the Duckabush River's constant belching, crashing, and churning as it tumbles over giant boulders and squeezes through narrow rocky clefts.

Duckabush River Trail No. 803 travels over 20 miles into the heart of the Olympic Peninsula, but a trip of 3, 4, or 5 miles up this good path will certainly deliver plenty of scenery, solitude, and perhaps a chance to spot bear or elk.

The trail begins on an old roadbed through uniform second-growth fir. After 1 mile of gentle climbing, the trail enters The Brothers Wilderness Area. Drop 200 feet, and then follow an old logging railroad grade, cutting through a mossy wonderland on an almost perfectly flat path. A few remnant old firs greet you along the way. Finally, in about 2 miles, the river comes into view. A half mile farther delivers you to an absolutely gorgeous spot where emerald giant cedars and firs hang over rows of chugging white water. This mesmerizing spot is a good place to turn around if you don't feel inclined to make the 1000-foot climb up the Big Hump.

For hikers hankering to hike the Hump, the trail twists and turns using tight switchbacks to ascend this valley obstacle. Thanks to a southern exposure, madrona and manzanita can be found scattered beneath the fir and hemlock. At about 3.5 miles, emerge onto a ledge with a spectacular view east down the river and out to the Cascades. To the south, impressive St. Peters Dome hovers over the Hump.

Driving Directions:

From Shelton drive north on US 101 for 37 miles. (From Quilcene drive US 101 south for 15 miles.) At milepost 310 turn left (west) onto Duckabush Road (signed "Duckabush Recreation Area"). Drive 6 miles (the pavement ends at 3.6 miles and you'll pass Collins Campground at 5 miles). Pass the horse unloading area and turn right onto Forest Road[masked] to reach the trailhead. Privy available. Our route: We'll be taking Hwys 16 & 3 to the Hood Canal Bridge..then 101 through Quilcene, then 15 miles to Duckabush Rd.

Ice cream and/or dinner post-hike is likely.

RT Mileage: 7-8

Strain Level: Easy-Moderate for 1st 2 miles|Difficult to Big Hump

Elevation Trend: Mild-to-Steep

Ecosystem type: Lowland forest, montane (mountainous) forest

Unique features: River, ancient forest

Trail ID: # 803

Highest Point: 1,750' (park boundary is 1,550')

*[There is 1,000' elev gain between the 2-mile mark and Big Hump]*

Pass Required: Northwest Forest Pass

*we may encounter pack animals


Please bring:

Water, the 10 Essentials, emergency contact number(s), lunch/energy snacks, sturdy/comfortable footwear + bag for soiled/wet pairs + a spare pair for post-hike activities), sun preventatives, bug repellent, hat w/ brim, clothing according to the forecast (layers!), trekking poles (for Big Hump climb), $15 for fuel (if a carpool passenger),binoculars and a camera! Drivers: bring your Northwest Forest Pass!

10 Essentials (and then some!) Go here:

Duckabush Trail



Dogs allowed? YES on a leash

Northwest Forest Pass required for trailhead parking

Carpooling encouraged

{Be sure to give your driver $15 for fuel BEFORE leaving the P&R}

Drivers: Have a full tank of gas for this trip (you can fuel up near our meetup location, if necessary)

MIKE's CELL|[masked]

(call or text)


Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service. Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose. You may join us on this hike at your own risk. Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains. You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe.


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  • Mike T.

    Superb day on the Duckabush! Such a beautiful place! Thank you Cindy & Tracey for driving! :-)

    June 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Tank you Mike for organizing and leading us! Had a wonderful time.

    1 · June 29, 2013

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