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Big Creek Trail {Loop Hike}

Approximate time-frame for the day: 8:00AM-6:00PM

+Meetup at 512 P&R: 8:00

+Departure from 512 P&R: 8:15

+ETA at Big Creek TH: 9:45/10:00

{trail is located near the Staircase-Cushman area}

The hike is on whether it rains or shines!!

Current forecast (Hoodsport, WA): 80-90% chance of rain showers. High of 49.

(updated 3/16/13 6:12 AM)


John H - can take 3 passengers (Olympia) (has a NW Forest Pass)

Chuck Martin - can take 4-6 passengers (has a NW Forest Pass)

{All photos posted on this meetup are from a Trailside-led hike on the Big Creek Trail[masked]}

Difficulty rating: Moderate RT Mileage: 4.5 Pass: Northwest Forest Pass Trail ID: #827/827.1 Elevation Gain: 900' Highest Point: 1,870' TH location: Big Creek Campground Dogs Allowed? Yes {on leash} Direction of loop hike: Clockwise (easier going down)|Counter-Clockwise (easier going up)

If you plan to drive and you don't have a NW Forest Pass, you can purchase a daily ($5) or annual ($30) pass at the Hoodsport Ranger Station, which is on our way to the hike. Restrooms are located there as well.

A few helpful links:

Big Creek Loop Upper Trail #827.1 Map.

In the shadows of Mount Ellinor, enjoy this circuitous route around the Big Creek drainage. There are plenty of pretty resting and contemplation spots along the way. Plenty of cascades too, along Big Creek and the smaller creeks feeding into it.

Nice on sunny days and forested all the way, and always within earshot of tumbling water, the Big Creek Trail makes a fine rainy-day hike too. Constructed entirely by volunteers, this relatively new addition to the Olympic National Forest trail inventory is sure to gain in popularity.

Utilizing many old roads, the crew put together an interesting loop guaranteed to make you walk away with a better appreciation of the beauty of cascading waters. Start your journey by walking west through the picnic area and to the Big Creek Nature Trail. This trail circles the campground for a 1-mile loop. But you've got bigger plans, so cross Big Creek on a good bridge and come to a junction. Turn left on Trail No. 827.1 and start the big loop.

Clockwise is the preferred direction for an easier-on-the-knees descent. On a well-built and well-shaded trail begin ascending above the creek. Mileposts and resting benches grace the way. After 1 mile the grade gets steeper. Mount Washington hovering above can occasionally be seen through gaps in the forest canopy. At 1.7 miles you'll come to a junction. You can continue straight on the loop, or take an interesting side trip dropping to the confluence of Big and Branch Creeks. Here you'll find good lunch rocks among the two tumbling waterways.

Continuing on the main loop, soon come to a junction with the Mount Ellinor Trail. This is the long and challenging way to the popular peak. Next comes a scenic crossing of Branch Creek on a good bridge. A few steps ahead and another good bridge is encountered, this one spanning Big Creek above a gorgeous cascade. The loop now begins descending, skirting some big boulders and granting good views of roaring Big Creek.

At 2 miles another side trail drops to the confluence of Big and Branch Creeks. Following an old road, the main loop works its way 2 miles back to the campground, but not before spanning scenic Skinwood and No Name Creeks, passing the giant firs that loggers forgot, and catching a glimpse of Mount Ellinor rising above thewatershed. At 4 miles this lovely loop ends at the Big Creek Nature Trail. Return to the main trailhead by following the nature trail 0.5 mile in either direction.

Driving Route:

From Tacoma/Olympia: travel through Shelton via US 101, then north on US 101 for 15 miles to Hoodsport. {512 P&R group is going directly to TH}

In Hoodsport, turn left (west) onto State Route 119, proceeding 9.3 miles to a T intersection with Forest Road 24. Make a sharp left and immediately turn right into the Big Creek Campground. The trailhead is located near the picnic shelter.

Please bring: water, lunch/energy snacks, sturdy/comfortable footwear + extra bag for wet/soiled pairs, day-hike essentials, clothing (in layers) and equipment according to the forecast, trekking poles (optional, but helpful), and your camera. Passengers should bring $10 for their carpool driver to help with fuel costs.

Mike's cell|[masked]

Chuck's cell|[masked]

(call or text)

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  • Chuck M.

    Uploaded some photos. Sorry it took so long, but I've been busy.

    March 20, 2013

  • Mike T.

    Thank you Chuck for leading this!!!

    March 15, 2013

  • Chuck M.

    Mike has made me an assistant organizer. I will lead the hike if anybody wants to go. Please let me know if you do. I'd hate to drive to Tacoma from Bellevue when nobody is going. You can tell me by posting or calling/texting me at[masked]

    March 15, 2013

    • Lisa H.

      I plan on being there. Saw the meeting place change. Looking forward to a good hike.

      March 15, 2013

    • Chuck M.

      I'll see you tomorrow then! :)

      1 · March 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I think I did this hike in late June last year and at that time the bridge had been washed out. Do you know if that is still the case?

    March 15, 2013

    • Chuck M.

      The forest service website says that as of 3/13/13, the trail was in good shape.

      March 15, 2013

6 went

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