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Upper Dungeness River

Time-frame for Upper Dungeness River Hike: 7:30AM-5:00PM
[later for post-hike activities and/or dinner]

Meet-up at 512 P&R: 7:30 [depart 7:45]

ETA at Dungeness River trailhead: 9:30/9:45


Current forecast for July 17 [Sequim]: High of 77. 0% chance of showers.  [updated 7/16]

Round-trip mileage: 6.8 Strain Level: Easy-Moderate Elevation Gain: 600' Highest Point: 3,100' Pass: Northwest Forest Pass Trail ID: #833.2

Features: Rivers, Old Growth, Wildflowers, Established campsites

Our driving route: Hwy 16 over the Narrows Bridge-then Hwys 16/3 to Hood Canal Bridge-then Hwys 104/101 to Louella Rd [across from Sequim Bay SP]

Please bring: water (2+Qts), lunch/energy snacks, 10 Essentials, emergency contact number(s), sturdy/comfortable footwear + bag for soiled/wet pairs + spare pair of shoes for post-hike activities, sun preventatives, bug repellent, clothing according to the forecast [layers!], Northwest Forest Pass [if driving], $15 for fuel [if passenger], your camera and your cheerful disposition! :-)

THE 10 ESSENTIALS [and then some..] Go here:


Hike Description: [WTA]

A delightful hike through ancient timber along the crystal-clear Dungeness River-save this one for a hot or rainy day. Quite possibly the easiest 3.4 miles of wilderness trail in the Olympics, the Upper Dungeness is ideal for introducing neophytes and youngsters to the backcountry. Handy dandy Camp Handy with its restored shelter provides cover on overcast days, allowing you to enjoy your lunch while droplets run down the cedar shingles.

The Upper Dungeness River Trail begins right beside the tumbling and crashing river, never letting it out of eyesight or earshot for the entire journey to Camp Handy. Through a magnificent stand of sentinel Douglas-firs-200 feet tall and several hundred years old-the trail is well sheltered. Embrace its air-conditioning effects on warm sunny days and embrace its protecting qualities on overcast ones. A couple of times the trail comes close enough to the river to allow mesmerizing glances into its frothy cascading waters. After 1 meditative mile arrive at a junction. The trail right travels 6.5 miles along Royal Creek to Royal Lake. Turn left instead, crossing Royal Creek on a sturdy log bridge, and immediately enter the Buckhorn Wilderness.

Through cool glens of Doug-fir and hemlock, across numerous side creeks, and along seeps spawning salmonberries, the trail parallels the majestic river. Raucous rapids and placid pools entice you to slow down and marvel at the beauty. In 2.6 miles the trail crosses the river. In 2006 the log bridge sustained serious damage from winter runoff. Hopefully the Forest Service has replaced it. If not, cross with caution. Once across, the trail pulls away from the river, the chattering of resident birds no longer drowned out by the thunderous waterway. At 3.2 miles reach an unmarked junction. Head right to a lovely meadow on the Dungeness, home to Camp Handy. If the weather is agreeable, head to the wide gravel bar for views and feet-soaking. If it's raining, take to the shelter. Be prepared, however, to fend off snack-sneaking chipmunks.

*Wildflowers are currently blooming! [6/27 trip report]

Driving Directions:

From the west end of the Hood Canal Bridge, drive State Route 104 to its end and veer north onto US 101. Proceed 16 miles and turn left onto Louella Road (just before reaching the Sequim Bay State Park entrance). In 1 mile turn left on Palo Alto Road, continuing for 6 miles. Bear right at a junction onto Forest Road 2880. The road descends and crosses the Dungeness River, coming to another junction in 1.7 miles, where you turn left on FR 2870. In 2.6 miles bear right at a junction to continue on FR 2870 (formerly called FR 2860). Continue 6.5 miles to the large parking area just past the Dungeness River Bridge. Privy available. Trip reports are saying the final 2 miles of road before the TH has ample potholes!



Dogs allowed? YES, on a leash!

Drivers: Please have a FULL tank of gas for this trip [You also must have a Northwest Forest Pass to park at the TH]. You can fill up your tank at our meet-up location.

Carpooling encouraged

Passengers: Be sure to give your driver $15 to help cover fuel

[above: second bridge, crossing the Dungeness River]

[above: Mt Constance & Constance Pass as viewed from Boulder Camp]



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 or appropriate for a certain fitness level. 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.

Signing up for any Trailside organized event indicates that you have read, understand, and agree to the terms of this disclaimer and hold harmless all Trailside Organizers and Leaders in the event of injury or loss.


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  • Canossa

    Thank you for all the pics, you guys! It was a relaxing hike and what a great group of hikers to be with.

    July 22, 2013

  • Alison L.

    A great hike with lots of shade, flowers, bird and river sounds and a lovely spot by the river for lunch. What a great way to spend the day.

    July 17, 2013

  • Kate D

    Cloud is a real trooper. He passed out in the car on the way home but awakened briefly for a snack of chicken strips.

    July 17, 2013

  • Mike T.

    FANTASTIC! A really pleasant trail with a nice forest canopy along the beautiful Dungeness River! The river noise was wonderful all the way up and back! Awesome lunch spot at Camp Handy with wildflower meadows and riverside spots to sit and eat. Thank you Charlotte for driving--sooo appreciate it! Weather was absolutely gorgeous! [It was great having Cloud with us too!]

    July 17, 2013

7 went

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