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. As you drive up the Dosewallips Road, the Buckhorn Wilderness is to the north, the Brothers Wilderness to the south.
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: NOTE!! The Dosewallips Road is washed out on Olympic National Forest land, 6.5 miles from the park ranger station at the end. Due to the washout, the Dosewallips Ranger Station is unstaffed and no services are available. No telephone.
Camping: Walk-in because of road washout. 30 sites, fire rings with grates, picnic tables, animal-proof food storage, pit toilet, no water.
Regulations: Pets and bicycles are not permitted on trails but are allowed on the washed out road. No fires above 3,500 feet, stoves only
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 primeval forest ecosystems. But really, the owl is just going about the daily business of survival.
Spotted owls need the physical structure provided by old growth forests. They need low limbs to stay cool on warm days and high limbs to keep warm on cool days. They need these forests to provide them with enough food, like 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.
Here 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 has now 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: Easy 1.2 mile loop through forested terraces above the Dosewallips River. Elevation gain 200 feet.
Lake Constance: This very steep climbing route is difficult (see box to right) and is not recommended for children.
Constance Pass: 7.5 miles, with 3,368 feet elevation gain one way to the pass. This is a strenuous climb into Olympic's high country.
West Fork Dosewallips:10.5 miles to Anderson Pass, 2,864 foot elevation gain from lowland forest to mountain meadows.
Main Fork Dosewallips: 14.9 miles to Hayden Pass, 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 handover-hand climbing. Remember that Lake Constance is a no-fire zone and a quota area for overnight stays. There are only six campsites, and you must obtain a wilderness permit before camping there. See www.nps.gov/olym for more information from our Wilderness Information Center on permits, reservations and food storage. We need your help to maintain the wild solitude campers search for.
Last updated: August 6, 2020