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Northwest Hiking Trails

Dose Meadows - Olympic National Park

This trail follows the steep walls of the Dosewallips (doe-see-wall-ups) River to a high country camp at Dose Meadows. With fine camps and watering holes along the way, this makes a great two-or three-day roundtrip backpack, or day one of a longer hike into the Elwha River drainage. In our two days we saw deer (doe, buck and fawn), black bear, mountain goat, marmot and a star-studded sky. Monte made the world's best Anchovy spaghetti for dinner, the perfect end to a perfectly exhausting first day.

Bear Camp photo Trailhead to mile 2.5, Constance Pass turnoff -- The trail starts in deep woods on the banks of the river, elev. 1600', and divides, like the river, at Dose Forks (1.4). Our route continued along the main trail, past the popular Calypso Falls picnic spot, to the Constance Pass turnoff, elev. 2182'. The Constance Pass trail, not to be confused with the trecherous Constance Lake trail, leads north into the Dungeness River drainage.

Photo: Shelter at Bear Camp.

To mile 7.6, Deception Creek -- The first 15 stream crossings are conveniently spaced less than a mile apart, for a cool splash on a hot day. Hawk Creek (5.0) is followed by not much of a view of Hatana Falls across the river, in the distance. At elev. 3160' are several good camps with water, between Deception and Cub Creeks. This is a good place to stop for lunch. Watch where you camp in a storm, because Cub overflows its banks.

To mile 10.9, Bear Camp -- After Deception, the next good camp is Marion (8.3), but convenient water is not a sure thing there. After mile 9, the streams are not reliable until Bear Camp. The Gray Wolf Pass turnoff (9.2) leads north into the Gray Wolf River drainage. Runoff from the Cameron Glaciers feeds the stream at Bear Camp, elev. 3844', where there are a few scenic camps and a shelter. Fill up there, because the next reliable water is at Dose Meadows. From Bear Camp, the Dose trail continues to climb out of the forest, eventually emerging at Tenmile Park (10.0). At elev. 3880', this is a large meadow of wildflowers, scattered with groves of Western Red Cedar.

Monte at the Lost Pass turnoff To mile 12.6, Dose Meadows -- The trail re-enters forest at elev. 4000', now not as dense as it was 2500' below. Finish the day by climbing back up to 4500'. The Lost Pass turnoff (12.6) leads north to Cameron Creek and Hurricane Ridge. At the turnoff you enter Dose Meadows, surrounded by Sentinal and Lost Peaks and Mounts Claywood and Fromme, all 2000' above you. The mighty Dosewallips River, now a narrow stream, has several fine camps along its banks. The best site is taken by a summer ranger's cabin tent. Outhouse and bear wire provided; no wood fires permitted. The trail continues over Hayden Pass (15.0) into the beautiful Elwha River valley to make one of the many 50-mile through hikes in the Olympics.

Photo: Monte at the 4500' high point, Lost Pass turnoff, on day two.

Stats: 12.6 miles one way to Dose Meadows, with 3500' elevation gain in and 500' out. High point, Lost Pass turnoff, 4500'. Self-register at the trailhead; NPS permit required for all overnight stays.

Getting There: Get on Highway 101 on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula. Just south of Quilcene, turn east at the Bayside Motel. This dirt road leads 15 miles into the hills and ends at Dosewallips ranger station and campground. The trailhead is just below the ranger station.

Note :   This is backcountry wilderness travel. Any trail can become very dangerous in winter conditions. You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards and taking the necessary precautions. Please read Terms of Use -
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