Duckabush River — Every day is Hump Day on this wilderness trail!


A lush mossy scene along the Duckabush River.

Quick Facts:

Location: The Brothers Wilderness, east Olympic Peninsula

Land Agency: Olympic National Forest

Roundtrip: 10.6 miles

Elevation gain: 2,300 feet

Contact: Hood Canal Ranger District, Quilcene ; Olympic National Forest

Green Trails Map: Olympics East no. 168S

Notes: Recent fire damage-beware of falling snags

Good to Know: kid-friendly, snow free winter hike; dog-friendly, Wilderness rules in effect

Access: At Milepost 310 on US 101 (37 miles north of Shelton; 15 miles south of Quilcene) head west on the Duckabush River Road (FR 2510) for 6.0 miles. Turn right onto FR spur 2510-060 (signed Duckabush Trail) reaching trailhead in 500 feet.

Notes: NW Forest Pass or Intergancy Pass required



The Brothers Wilderness

One of the long portals into the heart of the Olympic backcountry, the Duckabush River Trail travels over 20 miles along its wild namesake. But, there’s no need to go very far on this trail to experience this special valley. A trip of three, four, or five miles up this good trail will deliver plenty of scenery, solitude and perhaps even a chance to spot elk or a bear.

A good portion of the eastern reaches of this trail succumbed to forest fire damage a few years back. But thanks to the hard work of volunteers with the Washington Trails Association, this trail was recently rehabilitated—with damaged tread refurbished and fallen trees removed.

Beginning on an old road bed in second growth fir the trail enters The Brothers Wilderness Area after one mile. Now drop a couple hundred feet to follow an old logging railroad grade. After 2.0 miles of ambling through intact forest, enter the 2011 burn zone at river’s edge. A half mile farther, some remnant giant cedars and firs hang over waves of whisking whitewater. This mesmerizing spot is a good place to turnaround if you’re not inclined to make the 1,000 foot climb up the Big Hump.


Nice view from The Hump

Otherwise grab a snack-fuel-up-and continue. Twisting and turning via tight switchbacks the trail makes its way up this valley obstacle. At about 3.5 miles emerge onto a ledge with a spectacular view east down the river and all the way out to the Cascades. Impressive St. Peter’s Dome hovers to the south. More spectacular than the view however, is the spring floral show now in session. Batches of fawn lilies line the ledges. Hardy fire-scarred trees stand among stands of fire-ravaged timber.

Encounter one more outcropping before cresting the Hump. Now, through cool old growth begin descending. After dropping 650 feet the trail once again reaches the river. Here 5.3 miles from the trailhead, a well-worn camping area near a series of impressive rapids makes a good spot to call it quits. Rest up, for you’ll need to head over the Hump again on your way home.

For more information (including maps and trip planning) on this hike and other Olympic Peninsula hikes, consult my best-selling Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula and Backpacking Washington books (Mountaineers Books).Day Hiking Oly Book

For information on where to stay and on other things to do on the Olympic Peninsula, check out Northwest TripFinderNWTFmasthead_layers15

All content and images on this site are copy written material and MAY NOT be used without the written permission from Craig Romano, owner of Hike of the Week.

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