5/15/2015 (5:00 PM)  -  5/17/2015
Olympic National Forest
The Upper Dungeness Trail is a gateway trail. It is not only a great hike all by itself --on the way to its end at Marmot Pass it links to other high reward hikes in the northeast Olympics – Royal Basin, Goat Lake, Heather Creek, and Home Lake. From Marmot Pass one can continue to either the Upper Big Quilcene or Tubal Cain Trail.

The hike starts out easy and stays easy for the 3.4 miles to Camp Handy. About a mile up the trail you’ll enter the Buckhorn Wilderness when you step off the footlog bridge over Royal Creek. Here, the river often runs close to the trail. You’ll spy a milky grey tint to its waters in still pools. This color comes from suspended glacial flour contributed by the meltwater sources of the Upper Dungeness tributaries. At about 2.6 miles you’ll cross the Dungeness on a stout bridge.

Camp Handy comes into sight along the rivers edge at 3.4 miles. Its expansive riverfront meadow and cedar shingle shelter make it a popular campsite for people, which in turn has made it a popular cafeteria for gray jays and chipmunks. Take the side trip down to the meadow and enjoy the views up the valley toward Constance Pass and Inner Constance. This is where some people may elect to turn around, which gives you a 6.4 mile roundtrip hike with 600 feet of gain. But there are more views to be had further on.

From Camp Handy, the trail climbs without switchbacking in the three miles to Boulder Shelter. The trail crosses two good water sources along the way. At several points, the westward vistas offer clear views into the Milk Creek and Heather Creek drainages and at numerous avalanche paths on the opposite side of the valley.

You’ll arrive at Boulder Shelter at about 6.4 miles. The shelter was standing as of this writing in 2014, but much of the nearby area is strewn with avalanche snapped trees--harsh winters can take their toll on the area and the shelter may not be standing when you visit. The creek at Boulder Shelter offers the most reliable water on the trail.


GPS Route Details
Start Coordinates: 47.8771308437, -123.1398235168
Total distance: 13.54 Miles
Max Elevation: 4,925.33 Feet
Vertical Gain: 3,363.48 Feet
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