Partners in TimeOlympic National Park is often described as an island. The Olympic Peninsula's landscape has changed so much in the past century that much of the park's western boundary is visible in satellite images. Animal and plant life does not recognize political boundaries. Rivers flow, elk and fish migrate, and seeds blow from one parcel of land to another—wildlife exists wherever it can. On the eastern side of the Olympic Mountains, much of the land bordering the park is protected wilderness managed by Olympic National Forest.
Though the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service have different mandates, they work together to protect the national heritage set aside on the Olympic Peninsula. Biologists share research results and managers consult with each other on the many issues that transcend park boundaries. Because, from the perspective of a soaring raven or a migrating salmon, no park is an island.
Dosewallips InformationFacilities: The Dosewallips Road is washed out on Olympic National Forest land, 5.5 miles from the park ranger station at the end. Due to the washout, the Dosewallips ranger station is unstaffed and no services are available.
Camping: This area includes 30 campsites, fire rings with grates, picnic tables and a pit toilet; no water access or trash disposal. Visit www.recreation.gov to reserve permits.
Regulations: Pets and bicycles are not permitted on trails but are allowed on the washed out road. Fires are not allowed above 3,500 feet, stoves are permitted.
Forest SentinelsThe spotted owl is famous. Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990, it soon made the news more than any other animal in the Northwest. For some, the bird is a symbol of economic hardship because of its association with reduced logging in the region's productive forests. To others, its presence indicates the health and integrity of forest ecosystems.
Spotted owls need the physical structure provided by old-growth forests. Low tree limbs give perch and shelter to stay cool on warm days and high limbs to keep warm on cool days. Owls need these forests to provide them with enough food, such as flying squirrels and voles. While some may hunt among younger trees, spotted owls will only nest in large stretches of old forests. If an owl pair cannot find a patch of forest big enough and far enough away from another nesting pair, they simply will not nest that year. If that keeps happening, their population will continue to decrease.
In Olympic National Park, spotted owls found a stronghold against the habitat loss steadily encroaching on their territory. But the range expansion of more aggressive barred owls displaced spotted owls from most of these protected forests. If these trends continue, it is likely spotted owls will soon disappear from this part of their range. Only time will reveal if the spotted owl's haunting call will continue to echo among the park's ancient trees, a small voice for
vast wilderness that can't speak in its own defense.
Hikes Around Dosewallips(Road washout adds 6.5 miles to trail mileages below.)
Terrace Loop: An easy 1.2-mile loop winds through forested terraces above the Dosewallips River—elevation gain is roughly 200 feet.
Lake Constance: This very steep climbing route is difficult (see text to right) and is not recommended for children.
Constance Pass: Hike 7.5 miles, with 3,368-foot elevation gain one way to the pass. This is a strenuous climb into Olympic's high country.
West Fork Dosewallips: Follow 10.5 miles to Anderson Pass, climbing 2,864-feet in elevation from lowland forest to mountain meadows.
Main Fork Dosewallips: 14.9 miles lead to Hayden Pass, a 4,250-foot elevation gain; or walk the fairly level 1.4 miles to a bridge at Dose Forks.
What A Climb!The climbing route to Lake Constance is short but steep—it gains 3,300 feet in just two miles! The route is often in a rocky, slippery stream bed and involves scrambling on rocks and hand-overhand climbing. Lake Constance is a no-fire zone and a quota area for overnight stays with only six available campsites. Wilderness camping permits are required, visit www.recreation.gov to make a reservation.
Last updated: November 10, 2021