Marmot Pass & Buckhorn Mountain


Backpack - Marmot Pass & Buckhorn Mountain

Three day trip in the Eastern Olympics from Tubal Cain TH to Buckhorn Mountain, Marmot Pass and beyond; camping two nights camping at Buckhorn Pass. Amazing views, flowers and wildlife. Expect some to a lot of snow patches to cross. Leader Permission Required (no requests before May 10th--earlier ones ignored).

  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 24.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 8,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 6,800 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2.0

Meet at Tubal Cain TH time TBD

Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass at the TH

Getting There

From Highway 101, turn west on Louella Road just south of Sequim Bay State Park. In 0.9 miles, turn left on Palo Alto Road. Travel 5.5 miles, then turn right on FS Road 2880. In another quarter mile, turn right again to remain on FS-2880, heading downhill. A sign warns, “Narrow Road. Not recommended for trailers or motor homes”. Cross a bridge, pass Dungeness Forks Campground, and then a scant mile later go straight, following the sign to “Dungeness Area Trails”. Travel 2.4 miles, then turn right on FS-2870. Go another 4.8 miles then turn left to remain on FS-2870. In a mile and a half, cross a bridge, pass the Dungeness Trails trailhead, and drive the remaining 3.5 miles to the parking lot, for a total of 21 miles from US 101. There is room for a dozen vehicles, plus additional shoulder parking. There are no trailhead amenities.

Please no requests for Leader's Permission until May 10th.  Any requests before May 10th will be ignored.

This is a challenging backpack trip in elevation gain, in likely snow crossings and in some off-trail ridge walking.  The challenge will depend on the  rate of snow melt this spring and hence how much snow is still around come trip time.  This area usually melts out quite early.  Additionally we will be dry camping at Buckhorn Pass.  We can collect water on our way up to the pass from either side on days 1 and 2.  What we trade for no water, is easily compensated for by the amazing views from the pass.  Participants need to bring three (3) liters of water storage and microspikes.

When requesting permission, please completely answer the following four questions:

1)  I have completed at least three backpack trips in the last two years.  I am in proper condition to do a trip of three days, 22 miles and about 7000' of total gain.  Yes or No.  Please explain what you have been doing during the winter and spring season to show you are currently in proper condition for this trip. 

2) I understand that we will be crossing snow on some  or a lot of the trail near Marmot Pass.  I am comfortable with this and will be bringing microspikes. Yes or No.

3) I understand that past Marmot Pass we may travel on the ridgeline off trail for a mile or so.  I am comfortable with this or will be content to wait on the trail while those more comfortable proceed ahead and return.  Yes or No.

4) I understand the our camping for two nights at Buckhorn Pass is without a nearby water source.  I will bring  at least three liters capacity for hauling water about a 1.25 to 1.75 miles from the camp.  Yes or No.

This is an outstanding early-season backpack trip.  I hope you can join me.  Rob


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 extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Microspikes
  • Three liters or more of water storage capacity.
Trip Reports