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Elbo Creek

Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal
47.7710, -122.9168 Map & Directions
Length
9.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
2880 feet
Highest Point
3700 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Pinesap along the Elbo Creek Trail. Photo by Nutmeg. Full-size image

This steep but shady trail features a rhododendron forest, and numerous saprophytic plants. At the end, it connects to a Forest Service road, allowing for additional wandering, to find views of Hood Canal and more. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Old growth

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Rating
3.00 out of 5

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Hiking Elbo Creek

This steep but shady trail features a rhododendron forest, and numerous saprophytic plants. At the end, it connects to a Forest Service road, allowing for additional wandering, to find views of Hood Canal and more.

The Elbo Creek trail was originally an extension of the Rainbow trail built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The trail began beside Elbo Creek, and passed by the former Rainbow Camp Guard Station. WTA worked for several seasons to restore this trail. The current trailhead picks up the trail along Rocky Brook Road, and Elbo Creek is never seen. So despite the name, this is a dry trail; bring your own water.

The trail climbs steadily for 2.5 miles, to where it connects with a Forest Service road that allows wandering farther in search of views. But the real draws to this trail are a rhododendron forest, with pink blossoms in the spring, and curious saprophytic plants in the summer: Indian Pipe, candystick, coral root, pinesap, and many other interesting types of flora bloom along this trail. In winter, this is an excellent snowshoe workout.

After the end of the trail, you can turn back to complete a pleasant 5 mile forest walk. Or, to climb to views, head southwest on the road 1.5 miles to a sharp right switchback onto another road, which ascends steeply up to structures and transmission towers (off-limits; no trespassing). Behind the final structure at 4.7 miles is a short boot trail which leads  to an exposed shoulder of Buck Mountain, at 3700 feet, with nice views.

WTA worked here in 2021, 2020, 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010!

Hike Description Written by
Ken Giesbers, WTA Correspondent

Elbo Creek

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.7710, -122.9168 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

Travel south on U.S. 101 through the town of Quilcene. From the Quilcene Ranger Station at the south end of the town, go 4.8 miles, then turn right on Rocky Brook Road. (This is the second right after signs to Rocky Brook Road and FS 2620.) If you are approaching from the south, the turn is a tenth of a mile past milepost 300.

Travel a quarter mile up Rocky Brook Road, then park on the wide shoulder across from the trailhead sign. There are no amenities, and room for only 6 or 8 vehicles, depending on how they are parked.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal

Elbo Creek Trail (#892.1)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

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Elbo Creek

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