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Church Creek

Olympic Peninsula

Location

Olympic Peninsula -- Olympia
View map below

Length

6.4 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 2300 ft.
Highest Point: 3200 ft.

Rating

3.00 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

With wildflowers at your feet, wander among old-growth giants on this off-the-beaten-path trail on the southeastern side of the Olympics.

Abandoned and almost forgotten, the Church Creek Trail was adopted and reopened by the Olympia Mountaineers, allowing hikers continued access to this multi-use trail in the southern portion of Olympic National Forest. From the trailhead, the path immediately enters a forest of impressive silver fir, red cedar, and Douglas-fir, where lush mosses and lichens grow underfoot.

Huckleberries and ferns line the trail, as do a wide variety of wildflowers: avalanche and fawn lilies, queen's cup, trillium, columbine, and bear grass. Church Creek, though clearly heard, remains out of sight in a deep ravine.

By way of switchbacks, the trail climbs steeply toward the South Fork Skokomish and Wynoochee River's divide. As you cross a series of streams, look for marsh-marigolds, shooting stars, pioneer violets, and fairyslippers. At about 1.5 miles, reach a decommissioned road and follow until the route rejoins the trail. The climb resumes, and after about 0.5 miles, arrive at the 3200 foot divide. Near the crest, a massive western hemlock stands guard.

Beyond the sentinel hemlock, the trail rapidly descends through silver fir and western hemlock. Beyond a cascading waterfall, the trail makes a few sweeping switchbacks and emerges at the northernmost and largest of the five Satsop Lakes. A trail wanders along the lake, passing through thick swaths of willow and salmonberry, and continues to FR 2372.

WTA Pro Tip: Spend a full weekend exploring the trails of the southeastern Olympics. Set up camp at Staircase, near Lake Cushman, then hike around Mount Ellinor, the North Fork Skokomish River, and the Black and White Lakes.

 

Church Creek

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.4240, -123.5196 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula -- Olympia

Church Creek (#871)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails Mt Tebo No. 199

Getting There

From Shelton take US 101 for 7 miles. Turn left onto Skokomish Valley Road for 8 miles, then continue on FR 23 for another 8 miles. Veer right onto FR 2361 for 3 miles, then left on FR 2361-600 to the trailhead.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Church Creek

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