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Notch Pass

Olympic Peninsula


Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal
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8.6 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 2700 ft.
Highest Point: 2500 ft.


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WTA worked here: 2021

Parking Pass/Entry Fee


Believed to be a former Native American trading route through the Olympics, this historic trail was rebuilt by the Civilian Conservation Corps (the CCC) in the 1930s. It was relocated in the early 2000s and is a popular WTA volunteer work party site to this day. The route now goes through a notch easily spied from Highway 101 in the Quilcene Range, climbing steeply to the notch and then traversing the hillside.

From the parking area off Forest Road 10, set off up a rugged, narrow, but easy to follow trail. You'll climb steeply through classic Olympic forest, surrounded by red cedar and hemlock trees cloaked in moss. The switchbacks are constant, and there's not much for views on your way to the pass, but look closely at your surroundings and you'll be surprised at how many varieties of moss spring to life on the forest floor. 

The trail climbs steadily the whole way to Notch Pass - you'll gain 2000 feet of elevation in 2.1 miles. Cross a few small creeks along the way before flattening out just a bit before the pass itself, within sight of Road 100, which crosses the pass at 2500 feet.

It's all downhill from here. Cross Road 100 and descend 300 feet over 0.7 miles through a similar landscape to Forest Road 27, 2.8 miles from the Notch Pass trailhead. Here the trail on the other side of the road is slightly out of alignment -- look for it just up the road to the right. Hop on this trail and continue a further 1.5 mile descent to where the trail meets up with Lower Big Quilcene Trail, 4.3 miles from the Notch Pass trailhead.
Cross the bridge here and descend to Bark Shanty Camp if you wish, or turn around and return the way you came.


Notch Pass

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.8262, -122.9389 Open map in new window


Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal

Notch Pass (#831)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

USGS Mount Walker

Getting There

From Quilcene, drive south on Highway 101 for one mile, then turn right onto Penny Creek Road. Follow the road 1.5 miles to a fork, where pavement ends. Veer left, and continue about a half mile, then veer right onto an unmarked road (Road 010), and continue on for 1.4 miles to the trailhead.

To access the upper trailhead, which puts you closest to the junction with Lower Big Quilcene Trail, drive south from Quilcene on Highway 101 for 1.4 miles, then turn right on Penny Creek Road. Stay on this road for 1.4 miles, and then veer left onto Forest Road 27 (Big Quilcene Road). Continue down the road for approximately 7.5 miles, and there will be a parking area on the left.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee


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Notch Pass

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