Pop quiz, hot shot.
Find the Dosewallips River on a map of Washington State.
For some of us, we could almost do this blindfolded. The Dosewallips River is on the Olympic Peninsula’s Hood Canal. For those who live in Seattle, the Dosewallips River is located almost directly west of you, over the Kitsap Peninsula across the Puget Sound. For most, the Dosewallips River is something that is quickly crossed while driving on Highway 101. Best known to most as the location of Dosewallips State Park and the city of Brinnon, the Dosewallips River offers some awesome hikes and gorgeous views in the Olympic National Park.
While this isn’t a guide to the Dosewallips region, we feel that after reading this, you may just want to explore the region more than just the State Park.
Brinnon Isn’t Actually a City
The only “city” on the Dosewalips River is Brinnon, which is home to Camp Parsons, the oldest Boy Scout Camp West of the Mississippi River. With a population of 803 people in the year 2000, you might just pass through this little town of over. In fact, Brinnon technically isn’t even a city. It is designated as a Census Designated Place since it has no municipal government, but resembles an actual town.
Hiking in the Dosewallips
The trail to Lake Constance is one of the most difficult trails you can ever experience. The trail is considered by many to be brutal, with Class 3 climbing moves needed to get to the Lake. With the need to use tree roots or branches, the trail is not for new hikers. According to the experts at SummitPost.Org, a fall in the wrong spot of this trail “could also end in sadness as the trail weaves through several cliffs.” That being said, climbing up the trail to Lake Constance is one of the most rewarding activities one can do. Of course, the trail is a breeze compared to the awesomeness of summiting the ridiculously dangerous Mount Constance. Want to know just how hard it is? Check out this review on SummitPost.Org: http://www.summitpost.org/mount-constance/151586
However, don’t let the ridiculousness of Lake and Mount Constance stop you from hiking this region. The trail up the Dosewallips is home to one of the best traverses of the Olympic National Park. Starting at the Dosewallips, a multi-day hike can take you over Anderson Pass and drop you into the Enchanted Valley along the Quinault River. If you are looking for a great first backpacking trip, this is it!
The Dosewallips River is fed from Two Sides of Mount Anderson
Offering views of Mount Constance when looking upriver from Dosewallips State Park, the Dosewallips River heads up into the mountains for 34 miles before it reaches its source. Splitting into two branches as you head upstream, the source for the river is the South side of Mount Anderson for the South Fork. The North Fork starts out from Sentinel Peak, gaining strength as it gathers the water from Silt Creek draining off the North Side of Mount Anderson.
The correct pronunciation of Dosewallips is…
So, here is a point of contention for many around the region. Most people in the area claim the proper pronunciation as “Dosey-Wall-Lips”, while others claim it is pronounced as “Dose-Wall-Lips.” Either way you say it, both are incorrect. The original name for the river was “Dos-wail-opsh” and linguists state that the correct modern pronunciation is “Doh-Si-Wall-ips.”
Let the disagreements begin!
The Dosewallips Road
In 2002, the Dosewallips Road was washed out due to a collapse of a hillside. The washout impacted visitors to the region by almost 50%. While the road is still washed out, every few years the Forest Service and National park try to reach an agreement on a fix. From a rerouting of the road through the Buckhorn Wilderness, to building a bridge, all proposals have been shot down. Our favorite idea for opening the route to the Dosewallips entrance of the Olympic National Park was a foot bridge around the slide area that would meet with a shuttle ran by the Olympic National Park. Obviously, the budget for the National Parks will never allow something as rad as that.
52 AWESOME OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK HIKES:
One for each week!
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