Lower Big Quilcene River, Olympic National Forest, WA
Golly, it’s great to be back in the Northwest. We’ve finally returned to familiar and foreboding forests — dense, misty and lush. Prolific waters and soft duft under our feet framed by towering trees. For our New Year’s Day walk, with NKO’s sister Kate and her husband Doug, we traversed about 10 miles along the Lower Big Quilcene River in the Olympics.
On the slightly gray but pleasant afternoon, we shared the trail with several courteous mountain bikers but no other hikers. Kate and Doug brought two dogs with us who also loved the hike. There is hardly any elevation gain, making it do-able for multiple levels. The walk is also scalable, there are many serene and picturesque campsites lining the trail so plenty of convenient break spots, or places to turn around. We opted to hike 4.7 miles and then turn around at Camp Jolley. This area would also make for a wonderful, less-rigorous, backpacking trip. The first campsite we saw was prettily situated by a brook at 2.5 miles. Or you can trek as much as 10 miles to Marmot Pass, which connects to another longer loop with more trails and camp sites.