Hiking Marmot Pass

susanfriendmarmotpassMarmot Pass hike starts at the Big Quilcene trail head. Travel Hwy 101 to Penny Creek Rd. Follow FS 27 to FS 2750 stay on 2750 to Big Quilcene trail. From the trail head you begin a consistent ascent to Marmot Pass. The ascent is a gentle climb; the trail is in good condition.

Various delights await along the trail. The Quilcene River is absolutely beautiful. There are places from the trail you can walk right to the river. The trail crosses at least 3 creeks, all easily crossed. One particular creek, falls down the face of a sheer rock wall.

A variety of mosses grow in splendor of shades of green. Mushrooms have popped up since our day or two of rain this August.

This trail offers open space to see sky, river, valley and tremendous Mountain views. Old growth shadows the trail from time to time. For summer hiking, shade can be a nice cool place to rest.

Camp Mystery is a great place to have lunch prior to the final ascent to the pass. You'll have open space to sit along the river at Camp Mystery.

I particularly enjoy being able to look up at the craggy mountain tops of Buckhorn Wilderness. One can hike up to Buckhorn after arriving at Marmot Pass. There are several additional hikes one can do from Marmot Pass. Check on the hikes at the Quilcene Ranger station in Quilcene.

Marmots rest and sun themselves, on the big boulders, which are approximately four miles into the hike. The boulder field, in my opinion is a monument in its self. If one will take the time to choose a boulder to rest upon, you'll see some great wildlife. Marmots are in the boulder fields. They blend into the boulders, some Marmots bark, some just watch you.

Goats, yes Mountain Goats were at the Pass on Sunday. The goats didn't give anyone cause for concern.

Arriving to the Pass on a clear day you can see forever. The weather does, and can change rapidly.

We arrived at the Pass, sat to enjoy the view of glacier's and craggy mountain tops. While eating our dessert, all was clear. After about 15 minutes, we were socked in. Visibility for hiking was fine - no issue. View of the world outside of the trail was no longer.

Wonderful day of hiking, try it. The hike is 10.6 miles, with elevation gain of 3,500 ft in 5.3 miles.

Because of the altitude, wild flowers remain in bloom. The Indian Paint Brush is crimson red, fire plants are eggplant purple, many other flowers of yellow, white and blue.

Enjoy!

Submitted by Susan Walker, Mason County Information Center in Hoodsport

IMAGE/At Marmot Pass on August 18, 2013/Susan and friend. (click on image for larger version)

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