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Church Creek

Olympic Peninsula > Olympia
47.4488, -123.4906 Map & Directions
Length
6.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
2300 feet
Highest Point
3200 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate/Hard
The serene Church Creek and surrounding forests. Photo from WTA archives.
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Ridges/passes
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Waterfalls
  • Old growth
  • Lakes
  • Rivers

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

With wildflowers at your feet, wander among old-growth giants on this off-the-beaten-path trail on the southeastern side of the Olympics. Continue reading

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Hiking Church Creek

With wildflowers at your feet, wander among old-growth giants on this off-the-beaten-path trail on the southeastern side of the Olympics.

Abandoned and almost forgotten, the Church Creek Trail was adopted and reopened by the Olympia Mountaineers, allowing hikers continued access to this multi-use trail in the southern portion of Olympic National Forest. From the trailhead, the path immediately enters a forest of impressive silver fir, red cedar, and Douglas-fir, where lush mosses and lichens grow underfoot.

Huckleberries and ferns line the trail, as do a wide variety of wildflowers: avalanche and fawn lilies, queen's cup, trillium, columbine, and bear grass. Church Creek, though clearly heard, remains out of sight in a deep ravine.

By way of switchbacks, the trail climbs steeply toward the South Fork Skokomish and Wynoochee River's divide. As you cross a series of streams, look for marsh-marigolds, shooting stars, pioneer violets, and fairyslippers. At about 1.5 miles, reach a decommissioned road and follow until the route rejoins the trail. The climb resumes, and after about 0.5 miles, arrive at the 3200 foot divide. Near the crest, a massive western hemlock stands guard.

Beyond the sentinel hemlock, the trail rapidly descends through silver fir and western hemlock. Beyond a cascading waterfall, the trail makes a few sweeping switchbacks and emerges at the northernmost and largest of the five Satsop Lakes. A trail wanders along the lake, passing through thick swaths of willow and salmonberry, and continues to FR 2372.

WTA Pro Tip: Spend a full weekend exploring the trails of the southeastern Olympics. Set up camp at Staircase, near Lake Cushman, then hike around Mount Ellinor, the North Fork Skokomish River, and the Black and White Lakes.

Hike Description Written by
Kelsie Donleycott, WTA Correspondent

Church Creek

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.4488, -123.4906 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

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 Shelton take US 101 for 7 miles. Turn left onto W Skokomish Valley Road for 6 miles. Veer slightly to the right onto Govey Road, and continue for 1.8 miles. Turn left onto FR 23.

In 7.5 miles, take a left at the fork with FR 2353 to stay on FR 23. In 3.6 miles, take a right at the fork to stay on FR 23. Soon, you'll hit another fork; take a right at this fork onto FR 2361. Continue for 3.4 miles, and take a left at this fork onto FR 2326/2361-600. Continue for 2 miles to the trailhead. 

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula > Olympia

Church Creek (#871)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails Mt Tebo No. 199

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Church Creek

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