Dosewallips State Park

Dosewallips State Park

By: Spenser February 18, 2013 1:10 pm 3 comments
A weird name for a trail.

An odd name for a trail.

This President’s Day weekend took us out to one of our other favorite areas of Washington, the Olympic Peninsula! We started out our journey on the Edmonds/Kingston ferry, where we got very lucky this time and were one of the last few cars let on to the boat, so we were able to get started on this adventure fairly early. After a short 30 minute boat ride, we headed out towards one of our favorite drives, Highway 101. This highway is one of the main roads that weaves in and out of Olympic National Park and Forest areas, and therefore has some of the most beautiful vistas I’ve seen in my limited travels. Rather than our usual trek north along this road, the trail in question was about 30 minutes south.

The weather on the way out seemed pretty cold and dreary, with thick fog and light rain carrying across the Puget Sound and clouds and light winds when we got to our destination. Once we got to the Dosewallip State Park campgrounds it was not entirely clear IMG_0274 where the Steam Donkey Loop started. Since where we parked was looking out towards the Hood Canal, we decided to head towards the campgrounds and see if we could find another trail head. Sure enough, after a brief walk through the quiet open campgrounds we found a small path that a few other happy campers were coming in and out of, so we figured that must be the start. After a few hundred feet, we saw signs like those posted above that pointed out a few small trails to pick from. None of the ones listed at the first sign post mentioned the Steam Donkey Loop, so we picked the Railroad grade as our first segment to treck down.

IMG_0294We continued along and found the start of the trail we originally came for. With a little bit of new found excitement of actually finding the path to our original plan we began wandering through it. The vast majority of this trail was pretty flat, but despite that it wound through the trees and up and down small hills and provided a very nice and leisurely way to explore the forest. Throughout the whole trip I found it was very easy to just walk slowly and enjoy the view and the silence. Unlike our last few hikes, this one had large patches that were not near any rivers, and we were at least a mile from the nearest road, the quiet was very noticeable and really peaceful.

IMG_0290Another thing that made this hike very enjoyable was how subtle this trail was. This isn’t to say that the trail wasn’t well maintained, but rather it fit into the scenery amazingly well. There were many times that I forgot I was even on a trail and just felt as if I had wandered off into a gorgeous green landscape. Shelby and I had recently watched “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” on Netflix and I quite frequently found myself thinking about some of the older clips in the film about the parks service and it made even more enjoyable just thinking about how lucky we are to live in an area that has all of these amazing places within a few-hour drive.

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This trail was different from our usual adventures in the fact that it was a loop rather than the there-and-back types we have been going on. It was a nice change of pace since around each corner was something new to look at and after a few miles we were almost right back where we started.

Phantom Creek

Phantom Creek

I think one of my favorite parts of this was going across Phantom Creek again, but at the second viewpoint there was a beautiful little waterfall coming down the hill over all of the mossy rocks and fallen trees.

This trail was definitely a lot more fun than either of us were expecting it to be. Nice and quiet, lots to look at, and what seemed like what would be a great place to bring a tent. At about 2 hours from our place, I think this will be a great place to come back to. It’s definitely one of my new favorites and I look forward to going to it again, hopefully next time we can camp out or stay at one of the platform tents and enjoy a nice quiet weekend there.


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