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KascadeFlat
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PostSun Feb 28, 2021 9:01 am 
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I will be staying in a cabin near Shelton for a few days and I want to know where the cool kids go in the south sound. cool.gif

The main goal is to have a nice solo wander in the woods. Mileage and elevation are secondary to that. I prefer to stay below the snowline since I have spent the past three weekends in snow up to my eyeballs. I do have a high clearance 4WD so challenging access is OK.

Here's where I have looked so far:
Green Mountain and Tahuya State Forest (closest to where I'm staying)
Capitol State Forest (PhD required to read the maps)
South of Cushman in ONF

Looking through past trip reports has given me a few ideas, but if you have suggestions I want to hear them!

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Hiker Mama
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PostSun Feb 28, 2021 2:35 pm 
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I haven't spent a lot of time hiking in that direction, but we just went up the Duckabush last week, and it was beautiful! There seem to be several low-elevation river valleys that you can hike up on that west side of Hood Canal.

Have fun!

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awilsondc
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PostSun Feb 28, 2021 2:53 pm 
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Green Mountain is a great choice!  Nice steady elevation gain, but not too much.  Gold Mountain (which is a county high point) is also doable from the same trailhead although a lot of it is on logging roads and not as scenic.  I did Green and Gold both a couple weeks ago.  I saw nobody on Gold, while Green was quite crowded.  There are GPS tracks for both on peakbagger which I would recommend having handy.

Rock Candy Mountain in Capitol Forest is a good trainer that I do a lot, and there are lots of options for routes, but unfortunately they are logging some of that area although if you go on a Sunday I suspect logging operations will be off for the day and the trail open.  I went just yesterday (combined it with Capitol Peak and Larch Peak for a 16 mile day) and a few guys were up there power sawing and logging equipment and logs were everywhere but the trail was open.  I don't usually see many people up there, but there is often gun fire somewhere off in the distance which can be a turn off.

Up the road from Shelton a bit, I'd recommend the Big Creek Loop near Lake Cushman.  This is a great little loop with only 800 ft or so of elevation gain in ~4 miles with side trails to the confluence of a couple streams (worthy side trip).  It's gaining in popularity these days so you'll likely have company.
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KascadeFlat
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PostSun Feb 28, 2021 6:49 pm 
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Quote:
There seem to be several low-elevation river valleys that you can hike up on that west side of Hood Canal.

Good to hear the Duckabush will probably be snow free - I'll poke around and see if anything jumps out at me.

Quote:
Green Mountain is a great choice!

I love resounding endorsements! I know you can see Green from Seattle so that was how it ended up on the list. I will have a couple of days to explore and I appreciate the deets on Capitol forest as well.  biggrin.gif  I have actually been up to Big Creek and, I agree, it is a lovely loop.

Thank you both for your input!

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thuja
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PostSun Feb 28, 2021 7:02 pm 
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Check out the Lower South Fork Skokomish trail, accessed in several places from FS 23.  Magnificent old growth forest. Mostly flat, but low elevation so should be accessible.
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yorknl
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PostSun Feb 28, 2021 11:16 pm 
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Staircase Rapids loop in the SE corner of Olympic NP is a pretty 2 miles or so and one can continue upstream on the main North Fork Skokomish trail if desired.  The trailhead is at essentially the same elevation as Lake Cushman.

I have no idea what conditions are for snow, weather, or the access road.  A call to the park might be worthwhile if you're interested.
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KascadeFlat
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PostMon Mar 01, 2021 7:16 am 
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Thank you thuja and yorknl! up.gif

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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Mar 01, 2021 8:49 am 
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Most of the state parks in that area have a couple miles of trails that are available in winter. Millersylvania, Tawana (sic), Dosewallops, Sunset Beach, Potlach, Mt Walker, Fort Townsend, Squiem Bay, Lake Sylvia, etc. Discovery pass required.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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babylero
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PostMon Mar 01, 2021 9:16 am 
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awilsondc wrote:
I'd recommend the Big Creek Loop near Lake Cushman.† This is a great little loop with only 800 ft or so of elevation gain in ~4 miles with side trails to the confluence of a couple streams (worthy side trip).† It's gaining in popularity these days so you'll likely have company.

Indeed, I was at Ellinor yesterday and saw about 4 groups of people but the Big Creek Camp area was packed with cars.
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Olympic Hiker
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PostTue Mar 02, 2021 8:34 pm 
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I saw that the Duckabush was mentioned as a place to hike and thought I would mention that the Duckabush trailhead parking area is known for having a serious vandalism problem. The vandalism is bad enough that I havenít gone hiking there in about 10 years, even though I have always enjoyed hiking the trail.

I second the Staircase Rapids loop or the Big Creek Loop or both! Watch out for trolls under one of the bridges on the Big Creek Loop.  tongue.gif  winksmile.gif They thought I would be a tasty snack the last time I was there.

I would also second the Lower South Fork Skokomish Trail.

Also, the washed out section of the Dosewallips Road would be a good stroll too. The first 2 miles of the closed road keeps you in sight of the river. The river water has a unique green/blue color this time of the year. I know I am not the only one who is enamored with the color of the water in the Dosewallips River.

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If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. - Lincoln
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Hiker Mama
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PostTue Mar 02, 2021 10:37 pm 
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We did notice a disturbing amount of broken glass at the trailhead of the Duckabush.  eek.gif  mad.gif We were lucky, I guess. There were a few inches of snow once we got into the valley, but it was easy to travel.

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Entrails
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PostWed Mar 03, 2021 11:25 am 
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I would pass on Capitol Forest. There is a lot of logging, gunfire, motorcycles and ATVs, etc. Your mileage may vary, but in my experience, it's far from a gentle walk in the woods.

I would second the Peninsula river walks -- Duckabush, Skok, Staircase, Lower Quilcene -- and I always enjoy Spider Lake.

I'm more of an elevation hiker, though, so I'd also suggest things like Ellinor, Rose, Townsend, Cub Peak, Walker (go really early to avoid crowds on that one) . . .
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KascadeFlat
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PostWed Mar 10, 2021 9:25 am 
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Thank you everyone for your suggestions! Turns out there is a lot to explore in this corner of the world. biggrin.gif

After we got to the cabin I realized I didn't have my pass so ONP was out. I instead spent some time on the S. Fork of the Skokomish and exploring around Grisdale Hill / High Steel Bridge. Time well spent and goal achieved - I had the place all to myself.

The weather wasn't much for photography, but I did get one nice shot of a rainbow over the Skokomish.


New type of flagging? confused.gif


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