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Marmot Pass

Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal
47.8278, -123.0408 Map & Directions
11.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
3,489 feet
Highest Point
6,000 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
The view from Marmot Pass. Photo by Hikeczar. Full-size image
  • Ridges/passes
  • Wildlife
  • Rivers
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Established campsites
  • Waterfalls
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
Saved to My Backpack

Marmot Pass offers great views and a gentle hike through old-growth forest as well as high meadows. It is a great day hike, but also offers a great starting place for a variety of overnight options. Continue reading

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Hiking Marmot Pass

Don't leave Marmot Pass – Upper Big Quilcene off your list of must do hikes on the Olympic Peninsula, and don't be scared off by the nearly 3500 feet of elevation gain in a little over 6.25 miles. The trail is in great condition and the longest section of steeper trail is only three-quarters of a mile.

The trail starts out rolling through forest for the first mile and a half. The small, steep sections are balanced out by level parts perfect for built-in water or snack breaks. After about 3.5 miles, the trail's grade increases, and you will hike steeply for about three-quarters of a mile and then the rest is gentle to the pass.

You start in mysterious forest and hike for 2.5 miles through enormous cedars and hemlocks, old-growth standing silently while the Big Quilcene River babbles along beside you. At Shelter Rock Camp at 3600 feet of elevation, you'll leave the river and begin climbing to Camp Mystery, found at about 5300 feet, 4.5 miles in. Past Camp Mystery you'll hike through a meadow and then up another rise to a second meadow that gives you the view of your goal–the pass.

The pass is home to the junction with the Tubal Cain Trail. A right on Tubal Cain takes you to Buckhorn Lake Camp and the other direction heads to Boulder Camp and a junction to the Dungeness Trail. If you are feeling like bagging a quick summit, the summit of Buckhorn Mountain is attainable in just one mile, but with 900 feet of elevation gain.

The Tubal Cain trail past Buckhorn Lake leads to the old Tubal Cain Mine site as well as the B-17 plane ruins, a popular destination for hikers who access it using the Tubal Cain Mine Trail. From Marmot Pass, the views as well as the backpacking possibilities are endless.

WTA worked here in 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010!

Hike Description Written by
Pam and Paul Kaperick, WTA Correspondent

Marmot Pass

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.8278, -123.0408 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Quilcene drive US 101 south for 1.5 miles. (From Shelton follow US 101 north for 50.5 miles.) Turn right (west) onto Penny Creek Road. After 1.5 miles bear left onto Big Quilcene River Road (Forest Road 27). Drive 9.25 miles, turning left on FR 2750. Continue 4.75 miles to the trailhead. Privy available.

More Hike Details


Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal

Upper Big Quilcene River (#833)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

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Marmot Pass

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