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Outdoor adventures, mostly gravel rides, but not always

Tunnel Creek

A tumbling creek, huckleberries, & views - a delightful hike in the woods

By the Numbers

Pyramid
The trail is relatively modest until crossing the bridge over Tunnel Creek, then it turns up
Distance
9 miles
Elevation
2635 feet
Moving Time
3h15m
Nutrition
Water is plentiful along the trail from Tunnel Creek; the lake water looked less inviting
External

The hike to Tunnel Creek showed up in my Strava feed, and with no firm plans for the weekend, off I went. The views looked nice and the hike wasn’t an elevation or distance killer so it wouldn’t consume the entire day. I also really love hiking along creeks & rivers to photograph baby waterfalls.

Heyday in the morning mist
Heyday in the morning mist

I pass the Heyday Farm frequently and enjoy photographing the ever changing scene. This morning it was nearly all fog until I arrived in Quilcene.

Trail

The trail is in great shape and it’s evident recent work has been done to improve it, especially along a few sections which appear to have experienced small slides.

Trail through the woods
Trail through the woods

As do most Olympics trails, this one started in the woods at the end of a long, dead-end gravel road.

Cascading falls
Cascading falls

Much of the trail is along the Tunnel Creek, sometimes within sight, nearly always within sound. There are many small waterfalls and I’m sort of addicted to photographing them.

Bridge over Tunnel Creek
Bridge over Tunnel Creek

The trail is of moderate grade (compared to most Olympics trails anyway) until crossing the footbridge over Tunnel Creek, then it turns up.

Harrison Lake
Harrison Lake

Per the trip reports, there are two lakes, though the first was more pond and the larger, Harrison Lake, wasn’t that attractive and looked a bit stagnant. It was certainly nothing like the beautiful lakes of the Grand Valley.

Trail through the meadow at the ridge
Trail through the meadow at the ridge
Mt Constance
Mt Constance
Mt Rainier from my lunch spot
Mt Rainier from my lunch spot

After many stops along the trail to photograph flora and fauna, I arrived at the end of the trail – or so I thought! I never bothered to look at the map to check I, in fact, reached Valhalla Peak and reviewing the map later confirmed I had not. Argh!

In any event, I enjoyed my afternoon coffee and the views of Mt Constance & Mt Rainer and then headed back down to the truck. I’m excited to return and actually do the entire hike.

Mushrooms, Berries, & Butterflies

Huckleberry & mushroom season is upon us. I saw so many species of mushrooms and was particularly excited to see chicken of the woods throughout the hike.

As I was leaving, the butterflies stormed – they were everywhere! I cannot identify this species, please help.

Route

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