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Colonel Bob Trail - Colonel Bob Peak

Olympic Peninsula


Olympic Peninsula -- Pacific Coast
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14.0 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 4292 ft.
Highest Point: 4492 ft.


4.00 out of 5

WTA worked here: 2021

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Start at 200 feet above sea level and climb to a lofty, scenic peak of 4492 feet on a long, switchbacking trail through stunning old-growth forest. WTA did more than 20 days of work on this trail in 2011, working hard with the Forest Service to reopen a trail that was nearly lost to a huge storm in 2007.

The trail starts out at a pretty steep grade with lots of loose rock -- you'll want gaiters and sturdy boots for this hike. After about half a mile, the trail surface smooths out (but the grade stays steep) as you continue to switchback uphill.

WTA crews, along with other trail maintenance crews focused their repairs near the mile to 1.5 mile mark. Past this point, where it can be difficult to get day work parties, hikers may encounter blowdowns or brush, and the tread may be loose in some of those spots.

The first five miles of the Colonel Bob trail is steep, and largely view-free, but the fun really starts after the junction with the Petes Creek trail, an alternate route to the summit. Shortly past this junction, the trail incline increases significantly, but luckily, there are wildflowers filling these meadows in the spring. Look for coltsfoot, trillium, and yellow violets, as well as oxalis, a vivid green groundcover, most evident near the bottom of the trail. Shortly past the meadow, the trail levels out a little until reaching a creek.

This is the last water source, and given the incline, it's wise to fill up here, because the last mile of the trail is much more technical. If that's not your bag, there's a nice cirque near the stream that makes a good turnaround spot. If you want to press on, do so with full bottles. Covering perhaps 1000 feet in one mile, this stretch is a leg burner at its most generous description. Many people use this trail to train for climbing Mount Rainier. 

Shortly before reaching the summit, you may glimpse a sign on a that reads simply, '7'. It may be an old mile marker, since it's seven miles the to summit via the Colonel Bob trail. But the last push and the relentless incline rewards you with an awesome 360-degree view down to Lake Quinault and the Quinault River, Mount Olympus, Mount Rainier, even the Pacific Ocean to the west.


Colonel Bob Trail - Colonel Bob Peak

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.4974, -123.7932 Open map in new window


Olympic Peninsula -- Pacific Coast

Colonel Bob Trail (#851)

Olympic National Forest, Pacific Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Lake Quinault 197

Green Trails Grisdale 198

Getting There

This hike is in the Olympic National Forest.

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Colonel Bob Trail - Colonel Bob Peak

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