Try this for a tough dayhike or the start of an epic backpacking trip in the Olympics!
The journey begins behind a stock unloading ramp — seldom used judging by the garden of weeds on top. The first mile of old roadbed gets you to Rule Creek, where a giant fallen tree has been repurposed into a solid footbridge.
Calf-deep crossings at two other creeks and the Upper Skokomish are best tackled with water shoes and trekking poles. Routefinding can be difficult on the other side of streams and meadows.
Think like a trailbuilder (no sharp turns) and look for cairns or flagging tape as you keep the same general direction of travel. Long pants and gaiters are recommended as portions of the trail become brushy and overgrown past the two-mile mark. Backpackers will find several established campsites along the route beginning at Snowfield Creek, 2.7 miles from the trailhead.
You’ll cross from National Forest to National Park at 5 miles — time for responsible canines to turn their humans
around. Otherwise, push on to your highpoint at Sundown Pass, or even down to Lake Sundown if time and legs
There are seemingly endless stretches of 30-degree slope trail with rocky tread and no switchbacks, and
only peek-a-boo views of the Skokomish Valley.
Why go to all this trouble? It’s the TREES! Acres of old growth evergreens create a canopy that blots out nearly all direct sunlight, and fosters a lush forest floor of ferns, berry bushes, and subalpine wildflowers.
WTA Pro Tip: If you’re taking the Bremerton Ferry you’ll be driving through the quaint town of Union along the Hood Canal. Consider stopping for a burger and a beer at the Robin Hood Pub, sit-down Mexican fare at 2 Margaritas, or, with reservations and a clothing upgrade, fine dining at the Alderbrook Resort & Spa.