Hike description: The Tubal Cain Mine trail is a good trail to test out and tone up the family hiking legs. The kids will enjoy hiking this trail through second-growth forest, lush in some spots, eerily barren in others, as forest can be. Creeks and waterfalls provide more interest along the way as do the various artifacts left from old mining operations. A log bridge with a handrail and some (mostly easy) water crossings liven up the trip.
Most of the trail is a wide, soft trail with a gentle slope. There are, however, some portions where the trail crosses slide areas on loose scree slopes with some exposure. Use caution on these areas.
The hike takes you to a wonderful lunch spot by Copper Creek, near the site of mines (including copper and manganese) that were active 1899 to 1911 until severe snowstorms, spring floods and avalanches destroyed the mine shafts. When the miners retreated, they left behind a lot of artifacts – stoves, pipes, barrels, etc. that are slowly rusting away. Everyone is cautioned to stay away from abandoned mine shafts as they are not safe.
Hike to the old Tubal Cain Mine site this fall and make a note to return next year in late June or early July, depending on conditions, when the wild rhododendrons are in bloom. The rhodies are so thick and so lush on the hillsides above and below that you are walking through a veritable tunnel of flowers.
Directions: Drive U.S. 101 to 11/2 miles west of Sequim Bay State Park and turn west on Palo Alto Road. Or, turn west on Louella Road about 1/4 mile before Sequim Bay State Park. The trailhead is 19.6 miles from the junction of Palo Alto and Louella Road. This summer the entrance to the lot was not signed but the trailhead kiosk was clearly visible at the far end of the parking lot. Be aware that the current route to the trailhead involves a reroute around a washout on Road 2860 which will not be reflected in older guidebooks.
Difficulty rating: 2 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)
Miles round-trip: 7
Elevation: 1,050 feet
Best time of year: June to October
Map: Green Trails No. 136 Tyler Peak or Custom Correct Buckhorn Wilderness
Also: Always carry the 10 essentials on all trips into the wilderness. Cougar sightings are reported on the trailhead notice board.
Info: Olympic National Forest Quilcene Ranger District, 295142 Highway 101 S. 360-765-2200; www.fs.fed.us/r6/olympic.
Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. For other hikes, visit www.thenewstribune.com/hiking.