Upper Dungeness Trail
ElevationAscent: 3,459' 1,054 m
Descent: -22' -7 m
High: 5,974' 1,821 m
Low: 2,536' 773 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 46% (25°)
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“A beautiful trail accessing the eastern boundary of the National Park, Camp Handy, or more of the Buckhorn Wilderness.”— Zander Göpfert
Starting from the trailhead, this one begins to follow the Dungeness River through a dense evergreen forest. Within less than a mile, there is a junction marked by a sign and tall timber bridge. To the right (west), is the Royal Basin Trail. To the left, over the bridge, this trail continues (note the dispersed camping spots in this area). There are also quite a few fishing holes here.
Heading south, the trail has a very manageable upward trending grade with a fairly wide path. Don't be fooled, there are still lots of loose rocks and twisted roots to turn your ankle on. After almost 3.5 miles, you may notice some user trails heading toward the water, this is Camp Handy, a dispersed campground. Don't worry if you take a side trail as they'll all rejoin to begin the ascent toward Boulder Camp. Continue heading up and left (east/southeast), keeping an eye out for the Heather Creek Trail on your right (there should be a small sign).
From here, the trail continues to climb steeply crossing a few small drainages that could require hopping on exposed rocks or getting your feet wet. Some sections are steeper than others but none are that sustained in length and the higher you get the more views you'll be afforded to the west across the valley.
Finally, after six miles or so, keep an eye out for the sharp lefthand turn to continue the ascent toward Marmot Pass (signage isn't always present here). Luckily, if you miss the turn and continue a few hundred feet or so on the Constance Pass Trail, you'll arrive at another drainage crossing at Boulder Camp that has a shelter but no privy.
Heading up from the junction with the Constance Pass Trail, the trees continue to thin out with more and more opportunities to take in the views and catch your breath. After the last switchback, the trail will sidehill along the contours passing some impressive hand-hewn erosion retention work. Wildflowers can be beautiful through this section as the trail ends at Marmot Pass and the junction with the Tubal Cain River Trail and the Upper Big Quilcene River Trail.
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Land Manager: USFS - Hood Canal Ranger District