Duckabush River Trail

Estimated time-frame for the day: 8:00AM-5:00PM

Departure time from 512 P&R: 8:15

Meetup at Martin Way P&R: 8:30/8:35

Depart Martin Way P&R: 8:50/8:55

ETA at Duckabush River Trailhead: 10:15/10:30

Address for Martin Way P&R in Lacey:

4701 Martin Way E, Olympia WA 98516

Take exit 109. Get in left turn lane. Continue underneath the freeway. Find the P&R to your left AFTER the freeway onramp.

Forecast for the day (Brinnon, WA): High of 68. Partly Cloudy. 10% chance of precipitation.


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 last year's fire.

Hike/trail description:

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.

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.

RT Mileage: 8

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

Highest Point: 1,750'

Please bring:

..water, dayhike essentials, lunch/energy snacks, sturdy/comfortable footwear (and a spare pair for post-hike activities), extra bag for wet/soiled shoes, sun preventatives, hat w/ brim, trekking poles (for Big Hump climb), $15 for fuel costs (if a carpool passenger), binoculars and a camera!

Dogs allowed? YES on a leash

Northwest Forest Pass required for trailhead parking

Carpooling encouraged

Mike's cell|[masked]

(call or text)

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  • Mike T.

    Always love this trail. This time it was interesting to see the fire damage from 2011. Great company and a nice, cool day for hiking! Thank you John for driving!

    September 23, 2012

  • dale

    I drive a dark blue Prius and be in back of Martin Way P&R closer to freeway.

    September 22, 2012

  • Mike T.

    Remember: Those who drive (and are going to be passengers)-meet at the Martin Way P&R

    Those that don't/can't drive-meet at the 512 P&R. I can only take 3 people in my car tomorrow, so if you make it to the 512 P&R and we don't have room, AND you can drive to the Martin Way P&R, just follow us there. Confusing, I know! Sorry :O(

    September 22, 2012

  • Roy E.

    The change of Meetup place and time cost me time tonight trying to make adjustments, and will cost me time in the AM to get there, I just wasn't prepared enough for all this. I'll be better prepared for next time. ;-}

    September 22, 2012

    • Mike T.

      I apologize for the changes..

      September 22, 2012

  • Kathy O.

    Ummm... I will be at the 512 PR at 0800. Thanks!!!

    September 21, 2012

    • Mike T.

      OK--see you then :)

      September 21, 2012

  • Roy E.

    Public transit can get me to 512 P&R @ 0805

    September 21, 2012

    • Mike T.

      We'll be at the northern end by McDonalds

      September 21, 2012

  • Mike T.

    OK--at this point, everyone has a ride. Here we go..

    Those who cannot drive, but can make it to the Lakewood 512 P&R via public transportation or another way, be there by 8AM. Those who CAN drive but prefer to be a passenger, meet up at the Martin Way P&R in Lacey (exit 109) by 8:30. You will have a ride once you arrive there. Gina is meeting us at the TH. We have 2 drivers and 7 passengers. We CAN do this! :) (Look for addresses and directions for the P&R's to be posted tonight.


    September 21, 2012

  • dale

    2-3 can ride with me from exit 109 Martin Way Lacey. Will leave P&R around 8:50. Let me know if any interest. [masked]

    September 21, 2012

7 went

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