Upper Big Quilcene Trail via Marmot Pass

HARD 86 reviews
#15 of 179 trails in

Upper Big Quilcene Trail via Marmot Pass is a 10 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Brinnon, Washington that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

10.0 miles
3520 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly




nature trips

trail running






wild flowers




From Quilcene, 1 mile south on U.S. 101 to Penny Creek Road. Turn right and drive 1.5 miles to Big Quilcene Road. Stay left at this Y and drive 3 miles to the Forest Service boundary and Forest Service load 27. Drive 6 miles to Forest Service Road 2750. Stay to the left and drive 4.5 miles to the trailhead.

2 months ago

Went for our first time today and it was a very beautiful hike. Only made it about 3 miles up and the whole trail is snow and ice. Had our dog and he had a blast. Did not see one person there. Very peaceful and the river and waterfalls are amazing. Will definitely go back during the summer to make it to the top. Hardest uphill hike I've ever done though.

6 months ago

Beautiful! Explore as much as possible. We saw goats on the top of buckhorn and they ran by our campsite during the night

9 months ago

best mountain views i've ever seen in my life. hikes early july

10 months ago

A very strenous but rewarding hike. We camped at Shelter Rock the first night, left our gear at camp the next morning, hiked up Camp Mystery for lunch, and then on up to Marmot Pass. Spectacular wildflowers! There were tons of dogs on this trail, but the trail was too rough for our dog, so we left her with a pet sitter. Be cautious of your dogs' well being if you take them on this challenging hike with rough rock footing and open valley full sun conditions.

10 months ago

Did this hike this week. Wildflowers are beautiful.

10 months ago

hiked up to marmot pass and camped. then in the morning hit boulder camp. trail is in great condition. and the views are amazing on clear days

11 months ago

I did this hike on June 17 with a group and most of us made it to the top of Buckhorn Mountain. One person commented that they were reminded of Hawaii once up on the ridge line. The hike to the pass was a nice gradual up and no spikes were needed but they gave some confidence on the way down. It took a tad under four hours to summit and this was waiting for people as well.

There are no surprises other then the views from the pass and the summit. Well worth the journey to travel there. The road was just graded and despite a crowded lot it was paved most of the way and any vehicle could make it. Add this one to your bucket list of NW hikes, but dont travel all that way just to stop at the pass.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Great day hike, allot of elevation gain but really good trail and gradual grade make it easy. View from Marmot Pass is amazing.

Snow on the top mile of the trail is well packed and easy to traverse.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

This is one of my favorite trails to hike. The view at the top is amazing. Be prepared to be in the snow for the last mile until around June. Light snow shoes are good to have.

Monday, April 24, 2017

we love this trail. it is always so beautiful and peaceful when we hike. we went in Oct and April this year and was amazed at all the snow. we went about 2.5 miles in because the snow was pretty deep. the dogs love playing in the river, but know in April it is moving pretty quick, so it might not be a good idea for them to get in too far. the kids (13 and 10) really enjoy this hike too.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Loved this hike, it was absolutely beautiful with only a few clouds, which is not typical for the Olympic Peninsula. My father and I hiked in, but we took a different route than normal from our camp spot along the river, about halfway up the trail rather than the typical camping ground just below Marmot Pass on the east side. We decided to check out some rock climbing areas and some of the ridge to the south, so we bush-wacked our way up along one of the streams that joins the Big Quilcene River, found a goat trail, and continued heading along the ridge westward, passing Charlia Lake far below us to the south, and coming all the way around to Marmot Pass. From there we headed back east down the normal trail as marked to our camp ground and headed out that same day. It was beautiful, late June and picture perfect.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

We hiked to Marmot Pass and camped just south of Buckhorn. The trail was well-kept and beautiful, but gets steeper the further you go, so be prepared to sweat! We recommend camping around Marmot Pass (instead of Camp Mystery) because the views are incredible! Camp Mystery is the last place to fill up on water before the pass, so plan accordingly. If you camp near Buckhorn, you might even get to eat breakfast with the resident mountain goats! We definitely recommend this hike!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Amazing trail! Very difficult, went up and back in about 9 hours. Be sure and be prepared for all weather, went up on a beautiful sunny day with not a cloud in the sky and got chased down by a lightening/thunder/rain storm. The views are worth the climb!

Monday, August 01, 2016

My favorite so far. Nice steady climb and spectacular views. Loved it!!

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Started early at 830. The lot was 70% full already, although I think mostly from people who had gone out the day prior. This is a moderate hike. For me, it doesn't come close to matching the intensity of Mt. Ellinor. Although that hike is shorter. Turning left at the pass is the hardest section but well worth it.

Monday, June 06, 2016

This hike is worth it. It is a moderate hike. If you go up. Be sure to at least go up the ridge to the left when you reach the pass. Even more beautiful up there. If you camp, don't camp at the sites. Camp up on the ridge for sunset and sunrise.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

I would say this trail may be closer to hard than moderate, but worth it. The unpaved portion of the road on the way in has many potholes. Even driving slowly, we struggled trying not to hit them. The first few miles follow the river and the views are beautiful. I would recommend waterproof shoes if hiking in the spring as you are crossing a few creeks. The first two miles have a slight steady incline, which only increases as you go. We crossed snow a few times starting around 4 miles in. We became a little lost about 5.2 miles in because there was a lot of snow and footprints in multiple directions. It was very windy and snowing at the top.
We saw a black bear on the way back down, about 100 yards away, and were not prepared for anything like that, which was silly on our part.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Absolutely gorgeous. The connecting trail up Buckhorn mountain is steep, but well worth the effort.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Access from the app is off. From Quilcene on 101s, turn onto Penny Creek Road. After 1.5 miles bear left onto Big Quilcene Road (FR 27). This is paved. After 9.5 miles bear left onto FR 2750 for 5 miles to the trail head. You will need a parking pass from the ranger station (on the way in). Keep in mind you will loose cell phone coverage right away.

Trail is amazing. The Quilcene River flows by the trail, the forest canopy is breathtaking and the trail is well maintained. Aggressive climb. Really liked this hike.

Monday, July 06, 2015

easy..... please. moderate and best. beautiful hike, well maintained trail.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Absolutely beautiful!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Awesome trail. I did it with a friend as a day trip in the first week of June and most of the trail was in the shade, wildflowers had bloomed, saw deer and chipmunks, plenty of dogs, had a breeze from the pass, and the views were spectacular. Hardest part was driving down the forest road... definitely go slow... huge holes and hard to pass cars on. After reaching Marmot Pass, I highly recommend going up the additional 500 feet to rhe summit nearby for the best views!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Steady incline the whole way. Trail was really well maintained. The only difficulty was breaking trail through snow for the last 2.5-3 miles to the pass. Will definitely keep this in my back pocket as a good training hike. Total Time from TH to Pass was 2:15 up and 1:45 back.

Monday, September 08, 2014

09/07/2014 - The forest road is paved for the first 9 miles. The last 4 miles are unpaved, but still a great road. I was surprised. Not a difficult hike, but a long one with a steady incline the whole way to the pass. The river is beautiful and the campgrounds are very well-maintained. There's no signage along the trail, so when you arrive at both campgrounds, just continue straight through. The pass is beautiful and gives you the choice of going off in three other directions. I took the trail to the south up to the ridge. It's a difficult climb, but you are rewarded. Total distance for my hike was 12.5 miles with an elevation gain of 4,268 ft. Total time on the trail was 7:07 hrs which included several stops.

More on my hiking blog at cairnguru.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

Killer workout and way worth it!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Great work out! I did this as a day hike since I had plans for the evening . Next time I'm staying the night & doing Buckhorn Mountain .

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Beautiful views from the pass of mountain peaks to the west. The 3500ft of elevation was spread out pretty evenly so that not any one section of the trail was too steep. It took me a little under 3 hours to reach the pass from the Big Quilcene River TH. I continued up the trail to the summit of Buckhorn Mountain and the views were even better because of the higher elevation and I highly recommend it even though it is not easy. Nothing technical required but there is a lot of loose rock. I did this as a day hike although almost everyone else I ran into was camping.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The trail leads up to Marmot Pass but since Marmot Pass is listed separately on this site I'll just review the section below the pass. I didn't find much to look at on the first half of the trail as the Big Quilcene is only viewable in small sections. Much of the trail up to the first camp was dirt and easy on the feet. Finally after about 3 miles there were some nice views of Boulder Ridge to the south. Wildflowers were also blooming from that point up to the pass. Unless you plan on hiking to at least Marmot Pass I would rate the trail as just average. Marmot Pass however is beautiful. I don't know if it was because of the holiday weekend or if it is always busy but there were a lot of backpackers on the trail. So if you plan on camping I would recommend getting an early start.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Awesome hike with great views once you break out of the trees. fairly steep

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

awesome trail, amazing views, fairly steep

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