Marmot Pass & Buckhorn Mountain


Backpack - Marmot Pass

A one-night backpack to Marmot Pass via the Upper Big Quilcene River that offers miles of old growth forest, epic views of the Olympic Mountains from the Pass and an optional side trip to Buckhorn via the more gradual route. Total mileage will be approximately 13 miles with 4,000' of gain, not counting the optional 3 miles RT and 900' of gain up Buckhorn Mountain.

  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 12.6 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,400 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 6,000 ft
  • Pace: 2 mph

The leader will coordinate carpooling one week prior to the trip. It's approximately a 3-hour drive from downtown Seattle to the Upper Big Quilcene trailhead. The plan is to be on the trail no later than 9:30 a.m.

This trip is strenuous but we'll have less than six miles to our campsite, so a 1.5 mph pace up to camp would still give us plenty of time to enjoy the afternoon soaking up the views on the pass and ridge.  It's likely that we'll visit the pass again early the next morning with a tentative time of leaving camp by 11:00 AM.  Don't plan on being home on Monday before dinner time.

There may be snow at the pass or on the ridge, so micro spikes might be required. For food storage, you'll need an UR sack or a bear can. I'm planning to bring an UR sack. We'll camp up to a mile beyond Camp Mystery, which is the last water source, so you'll need to carry 3-4 liters of water for overnight and the next morning.

Prepare for temperatures in the low 40s at night and the possibility of rain. If the weather is forecast to be poor (high chance of heavy rain one or both days), I will cancel the trip. 

My expectations are that all participants have a map of the area, have done some of their own research of the location, be prepared, and come with a spirit of adventure.  Since this is an early season hike, snow might prevent us from doing the complete itinerary. If I deem it's not safe for the group to proceed, you'll need to abide by that. 

Permission to register is required.  Send me an email detailing at least two backpacks you've done, including mileage, elevation gain per day and the dates in the past year.  Confirm that you have micro spikes and can carry 3-4 liters of water in addition to a full pack for a mile. I may ask for more details from you to help ensure that all participants on the trip can be successful.


Marmot Pass & Buckhorn Mountain

  • Custom Correct Buckhorn Wilderness

    Green Trails Tyler Peak No. 136

    Green Trails Olympic Mountains East No. 168S

    Trails Illustrated Olympic National Park
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or UR sack
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • micro spikes
Trip Reports