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Home Go Hiking Trip Reports Tubal Cain Mine to Buckhorn Lake, Buckhorn Mountain, Marmot Pass via Upper Dungeness River Trail

Trip Report

Tubal Cain Mine to Buckhorn Lake, Buckhorn Mountain & Marmot Pass via Upper Dungeness River Trail — Friday, Jul. 2, 2021

Olympic Peninsula

Headed west to the Olympic Peninsula to find cooler temps than the eastside, lucking out with absolutely phenomenal weather (albeit a bit warm at times) and conditions. Much wandering and adventuring occurred on our first longer trip of the year!

The Tubal Cain trail up to Buckhorn Pass and beyond is in good shape (shout out to OP trail crews!). Some rhodies are still in bloom but expiring quickly. Just a few remaining snowfields above Buckhorn Pass to negotiate -- none terrible and traction isn't necessary, although some may find trekking poles helpful here. The remaining snow is rapidly melting.

We had hoped for a snowmelt stream to be available as in years past in the upper basin below Buckhorn...nope. So we steeply descended via the Buckhorn climber's path to Marmot Pass for our first night. Marmot Pass is fully melted out and the trail down to Marmot from the shoulder of Buckhorn is as well.

On day two we ventured on to the pass above Charlia Lakes. There is one exposed snowfinger on the Upper Dungeness trail about .1 to .25 miles from Marmot Pass that is still challenging right now. A slip on this slope would likely result in falling a couple hundred feet or so as it's on very steep snow/terrain and consequently has a pretty terrible run out. If you do not have experience crossing exposed snow, with good traction and possibly an ice axe, I wouldn't recommend crossing this snowfinger until it's melted out further. There isn't any snow on the remaining portion of the trail to the Charlia Lakes cut off on the Home Lake trail.

Day three had my group returning to a bench above Buckhorn Lake via the Tubal Cain Trail. There is one steep snow slope on the upper section of this trail from Marmot Pass but it can be easily avoided by dropping down to an alternate trail that bypasses the snow. 

We spent a lovely layover day exploring the greater Buckhorn area, finding some endemic plants and flowers and terrain reminiscent of my beloved Pasayten Wilderness (what a treat!).

This was my pup's first longer backpacking trip and he did exceptionally well. Doesn't hurt that he loves to hike! 

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