Hike description: The Buckhorn Wilderness in Olympic National Forest is a special place. Deep forest, even when it is the second growth that follows a fire, always is a treat. It’s quiet, green and lush.
You’ll travel downhill on a trail that picks up and follows Slab Camp Creek, first going through second growth, then rhododendrons and into old growth down by the Gray Wolf River.
You’ll cross a bridge over the creek and will find Duncan Flats with campsites along the river. The trail crosses the Gray Wolf River on an impressive bridge and ends at Camp Tony on the other side of the river.
You have a choice of lunch spots at Camp Tony or Duncan Flats. Enjoy the solitude with the main sound that of the river and the creek while you refuel and prepare mentally to climb back up the hill.
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This area of Olympic National Forest offers a real treat in the spring – rhododendron displays. The marshy area at the trailhead can be resplendent with mosquitoes when conditions are right. Keep your bug spray handy; don’t let the little critters keep you from enjoying a deep forest outing.
Directions: Drive west from Sequim on U.S. Highway 101 for 0.2 miles to Taylor Cutoff. Turn left and go 2.6 miles. Turn right onto Lost Mountain Road and go 2.5 miles. Turn left on Slab Creek Road/Forest Service Road 2870. In about 1 mile, the road forks. Turn right on Forest Service Road 2875 and go about 3.5 miles.
There is a large parking area on the right, and Road 2878 goes to the left. This is Slab Camp.
Park by the primitive camp and find the trailhead on the south side of the road.
Difficulty rating: 3 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)
Miles round-trip: 5.6
Elevation: 1,100 feet
Best time of year: All year
Map: Green Trails No 136 Tyler Peak or Custom Correct Buckhorn Wilderness
Pass: Not at this time
Also: The regulations about which trailheads require a Northwest Forest Pass continue to change. Check with the Forest Service before heading out.
Always carry the 10 essentials and adequate food, clothing and water on wilderness trips. If you plan to replenish your water along the hike, be sure to have a means of treating it before drinking. Practice leave-no-trace travel and pack out everything you take in.
Information: Contact Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal District, Quilcene Office at 360-765-2200 or go to www.fs.fed.us/r6/olympic/index.shtml; “Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula” from Mountaineers Books.
Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee.