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Dosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail

Dosewallips State Park provides an interesting convergence of forest with a saltwater delta. The park is best known for its shellfish beds and campground, but it offers some nice hiking too. The 3.5 mile Steam Donkey Loop Trail is an especially good choice in spring, with lots of creeklets, views of the Dosewallips River and silent forest. There is a strong chance that you will see wildlife in winter and spring. An elk herd resides in the area. And with the estuary so close, the area is rife with bird-life. As an added bonus for fall hikers, you can search for and pick chantrelle mushrooms.

The trail is well-built, easy to follow and good for beginning hikers. Benches placed at strategic spots along the trail provide a chance to eat a snack or enjoy the roar of the river.

The park also boasts a short trail that leads out to the delta overlooking Hood Canal. It is possible see whales and seals from the observation area.
Driving Directions:

Dosewallips State Park is on Highway 101 along Hood Canal and just north of the town of Brinnon at milepost 307. To reach the park, drive 40 miles north from Shelton or 20 miles south from Highway 104 and follow the signs.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 24 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Dosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail — Feb 22, 2014 — Bob and Barb
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes
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After hiking Fallsview Canyon, we returned to our campsite at Dosewallips SP and hiked the Maple Val...
After hiking Fallsview Canyon, we returned to our campsite at Dosewallips SP and hiked the Maple Valley Loop. There were some muddy areas from the recent rains and a few new blowdowns near the beginning of the trail, but most evident was the recent trail work done by WTA! THANK YOU! :)! This is an easy hike through moss covered maples with an understory of moss and lichen covered rocks, stumps and trees with Phantom Creek flowing through the area. We saw a few turkey tails and some British Soldier Lichen.
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Dosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail — Jan 05, 2014 — Monica
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns
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This is a great beginner hike for kids! We started out at the Maple Valley Trail Head behind the ran...
This is a great beginner hike for kids! We started out at the Maple Valley Trail Head behind the ranger station. The Maple Valley leg had one area of blow down, but other than that, was in great shape. There were a couple of areas of slippery ground due to fallen leaves and through the shadey areas the ground was frozen, but not slippery. The Maple Valley leg gains elevation but once you intersect with the Steam Donkey trail, it's a nice leisurely walk with plenty of nice bridges and the clearest forest pond I have ever seen.
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Dosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail — Dec 28, 2013 — heartrock7
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns
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I'm 58, my husband is 69 and just 4 weeks out from quadruple bypass. We have always enjoyed hiking, ...
I'm 58, my husband is 69 and just 4 weeks out from quadruple bypass. We have always enjoyed hiking, but the last few years, he has just not been able to do much. Since his surgery,he has started to feel like his old self again, so we decided to start back into hiking. We read a blog called Hiking With My Brother and this particular trail was listed as one of their 'easy hikes'. That sounded like a good place to start, so we took off and headed down to Dosewallips State Park this morning. It's only about an hour's drive for us so it seemed like we were there before we knew it. Finding the trail was bit difficult. We parked in the camp parking lot by the bathhouse, cut through a campsite and up to the main road where we crossed and was immediately on the Maple Valley section of the trail. We veered to our right and this trail led to the Rhody Cut Trail. We followed this and encountered only one blow down that we had to crawl under, but that was doable. We hooked back onto the Maple Valley Trail and followed that up to the Steam Donkey Trail. There was some elevation to this section of the trail, but the moss covered trees and giant ferns provided a great distraction. There were several benches along the trail and we did stop for a few moments just to sit and gaze out at the scenery. The trail led us back down to the campsite and our car. The trail was in excellent condition, but damp and slippery in spots. It helped to just take our time and not be in a rush. We will definitely be going back.
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Dosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail — Dec 24, 2013 — imahiker
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns
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It was a beautiful partly cloudy day and christmas eve. We decided to take a short local hike. The h...
It was a beautiful partly cloudy day and christmas eve. We decided to take a short local hike. The hike is listed at 3.5 miles round trip. It took us a little under 2 hours as we backtracked a few times.

The hike offered a variety of sights: moss covered trees, river and streams, small waterfalls, lots of short bridges, even a history lesson.

The hike was easy, good for the whole family. There were some slippery tree roots to watch out for and some slippery bridges.

We started on the Maple Valley trail which starts behind the ranger station at the entrance to Dosewallips State Park and campground. The trail follows the Dosewallips River for awhile. Eventually you come to a trail called the Rhody Cutoff. If you want to skip most of the hike, you can take the cutoff, otherwise stay on the Maple Valley trail and continue on to Steam Donkey.

The trail starts meandering up the hill, over some bridges over Phantom Creek. Eventually you come to an access road. Looking to the right, you see the sign for the Steam Donkey loop trail. I did not know what a steam donkey was and looked it up after the hike. It is a steam powered winch used by loggers to reel in huge logs.

The trail climbs slightly then turns left and you start heading back down. We didn't take the Izett Railroad grade, just continued on the loop. When we looped back to the access road and the end of steam donkey, we looked to the left and found a sign to the Maple Valley trail that would take us back to the campground. On the way is a sign about the Izett Railroad which carried the logs down the mountain to Hood Canal to be floated out on log booms.

The trail ends at the road leading up to the ranger station and the campground.

The greatest thing about this hike was that we were the only ones there. We had it to ourselves (and our dog). I'm sure its not that way in the summer when the campground is full. We will be taking more local hikes this winter to skip the crowds, weather permitting!

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Dosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail — Dec 19, 2013 — Joe Hendricks
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
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Video trail highlights: http://youtu.be/bBQW9OcdP2E My friend Lanny wanted a 'mild' hike so this ...
Video trail highlights: http://youtu.be/bBQW9OcdP2E

My friend Lanny wanted a 'mild' hike so this was perfect! Beautiful day, beautiful trail with plenty of runoff to keep the creeks active. Did not see anyone else at all!
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Dosewallips River SP Craig Romano sm.jpg
Dosewallips State Park. Photo copyright Craig Romano.
WTA worked here!
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Location
Olympics -- East
Dosewallips State Park
Statistics
Roundtrip 3.5 miles
Elevation Gain 400 ft
Highest Point 425 ft
Features
Coast
Rivers
Old growth
Wildlife
User info
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash
Discover Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
USGS Brinnon

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Red MarkerDosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail
47.6875812 -122.8998651
  • State Park
  • Trail Work 2013 Frontcountry
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Trail Work 2011
  • Trail Work 2010
(47.6876, -122.8999) Open in new window
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