Duckbush Three Pass Loop - Olympic National Park

With fires burning over much of Oregon and Washington, and smoke spreading almost everywhere else, I canceled my plans for the North Cascades and headed out to Olympic National Park, the best option for a good backpack without much smoke. I ended up having one smoky day.

My chosen backpack was to go up the Duckabush River Trail and connect to a loop farther in that crosses three passes.

But first I decided to do a night of car camping at Deer Park Campground. This remote campground at the northern end of the park requires driving up a curvy gravel road to 5400 feet. Here was the initial view when I arrived

To the east where I had driven up, there was a marine layer

My campsite near sunset

The next morning I retraced my route back around the Olympic Peninsula a ways for the 5-day backpack. The hike starts in Olympic National Forest for six miles before entering Olympic National Park.Unfortunately the national park map was wrong and the national forest road did not have a sign indicating where the trial started, so it took a while finding it. But eventually I did and then it was classic Olympic hiking.

My second misfortune of the day was a thing called the Big Hump. My hiking topo map started at the national park boundary and so did not include the first six miles. I assumed it would be pleasant walking next to the river. I didn't know that the Big Hump required hiking 1000 feet straight up (in about 30 switchbacks) and then 800 feet back down the other side. The lost trailhead and the Big Hump left me in a bit of a sour mood, but I got over it.

There was this footbridge to nowhere, i.e. it isn't crossing over anything

After what felt like much more than 6.5 miles, I reached the park boundary

And I did eventually reach 10 Mile Camp (10.7 miles in) at 5:30, much later than expected. The Duckabush River was running pretty small

There was a nice example of a nursery log - where new trees grow out of a decaying old one

The next day I continued up along the Duckabush. At first it was fairly flat, but the upper section gained a lot of altitude and it was hot. But I eventually reached Marmot Lake and set up camp on top of a knoll next to the small lake. On one side I had a view of little Marmot Lake

And on the other side, I had a view of Mts Duckabush and Steel, quite the view

The heat that day was due to an east wind, which meant that smoke from all the fires out east was being blown my way

Continue to O'Neil, Anderson, and Lacrosse Passes