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Tunnel Creek

Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal
47.7815, -123.0521 Map & Directions
Length
9.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
2450 feet
Highest Point
4500 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Harrison Lake fall fashion show. Photo by Muledeer. Full-size image
  • Ridges/passes
  • Established campsites
  • Mountain views
  • Old growth
  • Lakes
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

Tunnel Creek Trail has two trailheads. Nearly all hikers access the trail from the north side where for the first three miles the moderately easy grade is often within earshot of Tunnel Creek. After crossing the South Fork of Tunnel Creek, the route rises at a steeper but manageable grade past Harrison Lakes to 5050 Pass and some nearby viewpoints. The south side trailhead is on the Dosewallips Road. This segment’s notoriously steep grade to 5050 Pass means it is seldom used. Try it and you’ll find out why. Continue reading

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Hiking Tunnel Creek

Tunnel Creek Trail has two trailheads. Nearly all hikers access the trail from the north side where for the first three miles the moderately easy grade is often within earshot of Tunnel Creek. After crossing the South Fork of Tunnel Creek, the route rises at a steeper but manageable grade past Harrison Lakes to 5050 Pass and some nearby viewpoints. The south side trailhead is on the Dosewallips Road. This segment’s notoriously steep grade to 5050 Pass means it is seldom used. Try it and you’ll find out why.

Most hikers access the trail from the north side where for the first three miles the route is often within earshot of Tunnel Creek. This route is 9.4 miles round trip to 5050 Pass.

Tunnel Creek has no tunnel. The name comes from the stream’s habit of not visibly flowing and leaving stretches of dry creek bed during low water periods.

The path heads through impressive stands of Douglas Fir and Hemlock. The trees and the ridge of 5050 Pass to the south keep hikers in cool shade in summer and even cold in the shoulder seasons. At 2.7 miles Tunnel Creek Shelter offers several campsites. Soon you will cross the South Fork of Tunnel Creek on a short bridge that, because of the shade and spray, is often slippery. There are distracting views from the bridge of twin cataracts tumbling through moss carpeted forest.

From here the trail rises on the north face of the ridge, offering views of Mount Constance to the west that improve from peek-a-boo windows to sweeping panoramas at the 5050 Pass ridge top. The trail passes Harrison Lakes, shallow pools nestled into benches on the ridge. On nearly still days, their rippling reflections create Impressionist images of the surroundings. Pick an autumn day for the color show put on by the shoreline of azaleas and huckleberry bushes.

At 5050 Pass, there are two side trails along the ridgeline that offer even better views of Constance and more distant peaks and ranges. One trail runs east, the other heads west. You’ll figure it out.

WTA worked here in 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010!

Hike Description Written by
Mason White, WTA Correspondent

Tunnel Creek

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.7815, -123.0521 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

Head south on US Highway 101 for the Ranger Station in Quilcene for 0.9 miles. Veer right to exit onto Penny Creek Road. In another 1.4 miles, the pavement ends and the road forks. Take the left fork and follow this gravel road for 1.3 miles where the pavement resumes as it transitions to Forest Road 27. Stay on FR 27 for another 1.3 miles before turning left on FR2 740. Follow FR 2740 6.6 miles to its end at the trailhead. There are no amenities at the trailhead.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal

Tunnel Creek (#841)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails Tyler Peak No. 136

Custom Correct Buckhorn Wilderness

USGS Tyler Peak

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Tunnel Creek

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