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Dosewallips River Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Dosewallips is a moderate sized river (Jerry Adams)
The first 5.5 miles used to be road, so it's an easy, wide trail with road artifacts. (Jerry Adams)
Then, the trail is easy, although not as wide. (Jerry Adams)
Occasional glimpses of ridges above, but mostly this is a forest/river hike. (Jerry Adams)
  • Start point: Dosewallips TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • Trail log: Trail Log
  • Distance: 9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1600 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year round although it can get pretty snowy or rainy
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Yes


Hike Description

The Dosewallips trail is a good early season hike. The trail is fairly low elevation so it doesn't get a lot of snow. It's on the East side of the Olympics so it gets less rain than on the West side. The trail is well maintained so good if it's been raining a lot. There are bridges across major side streams.

There are some other East side trails that are probably just as good, like Duckabush and Hamma Hamma.

The trail goes along the Dosewallips River. Not a lot of views. Nice forest views though.

The first mile of the trail is in the Olympic National Forest, then it goes into the National Park.

There are frequent campsites if you're into backpacking. You need to follow Olympic National Park rules about using bear boxes, wires, container, or hang your food from a tree.

The first part of the trail used to be an automobile road but got washed out at one spot. There's a good trail around the washout.

I, arbitrarily just went in 9 miles. It continues from there a large distance. Numerous side trails. The grand Pass is 25 miles from the trailhead. (Grand Valley Badger Valley Loop Hike).

Detailed Description

Start at the Dosewallips Trailhead at 560 feet elevation. The road abruptly ends at a berm, and a trail goes over it.

A short distance further, the road has been washed out, but there's a good trail detour. There's also a use trail going over the washout - good luck with that.

Then, for 5.5 miles from the trailhead, the trail goes on the old road bed so it's very wide with good bridges across any side streams.

Elkhorn campground is an old car camp, 1.5 miles from the trailhead. There are bear boxes and picnic tables, but no pit toilet.

Dosewallips campground is 5.5 miles from the trailhead - the end of the old road. This is an old car camp. There are picnic tables, bear boxes, and toilets. There's a ranger station.

One day it rained a lot so I stayed at the restroom next to the Ranger Station. There's a shed with plywood floor that's protected from rain, and the porch of the restroom was covered so I used it to cook. I don't know if this is allowed, but no one was there. I suspect this area gets busy during the summer so you wouldn't want to do this, but in the off season it's probably okay.

From here, the trail is narrower but still good. There are bridges across major side streams.

At 7 miles from the trailhead and 1800 feet elevation is Dose Forks Campground - toilet and bear wires. Room for many people. This is also the junction for the trail that goes up the Dosewallips West Fork. I went up that a bit and it was similar. You can keep going up to Anderson Pass and down to the Quinalt River. See Enchanted Valley Hike. It's 34.4 miles from the Dosewallips Trailhead to the Graves Creek Trailhead on the Quinalt.

I continued up the Dosewallips and it was more of the same.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

You need to fill out a permit which you can get from the box along the trail about a mile from the trailhead.

If you're backpacking, there is a $5 per group fee plus $2 per person per day. There's an envelope at the registration box, put in the fee, and mail it to the National Park Service. (I wonder if anyone does this?).

Dogs are not allowed here, sorry.

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Olympic National Park Trail Map

Guidebooks that cover this hike

More Links

More Information

Port Angeles Visitor Center (360) 565-3100

Forks Visitor Center (360) 374-7566


Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

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