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Dosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail

Olympic Peninsula


Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal
View map below


3.5 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 400 ft.
Highest Point: 425 ft.


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WTA worked here: 2020

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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, since 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 chanterelle mushrooms.

Dosewallips State Park provides an interesting convergence of forest groves with saltwater delta. The park is best known for its shellfish beds and campground, but it offers some nice hiking too. The 3.5-mile loop trail wends its way through these forests, up ridges and through open meadows. You'll cross creeks and enjoy the dappled sunlight coming through thick foliage of deciduous trees.

This area was once the site of a logging operation, hence the unusual name of this loop. A steam donkey was a piece of logging equipment used to pull logs through the forest once they'd been downed. Towards the end of the loop, as you approach the trailhead from the south, you'll hike by a mill pond--this was used in the operation of the steam donkey when the park was an active logging operation.

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. Hike the trail counter-clockwise, starting from near the platform tents. Follow the signs for the Steam Donkey Trail.

WTA Pro Tip: If, once you've completed the Steam Donkey trail, you want to continue exploring, you can head to another trail in the park. This one boasts a short route to the delta overlooking Hood Canal, where it is possible see whales and seals from the observation area.


Dosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.6876, -122.8999 Open map in new window


Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal

Washington State Parks

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Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

USGS Brinnon

Dosewallips State Park Washington State Parks PDF Map:

Getting There

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.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

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Dosewallips State Park - Steam Donkey Trail

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