Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Trip Reports Lower Big Quilcene River

Trip Report

Lower Big Quilcene River — Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018

Olympic Peninsula

Trip Report By

WTA Member


Type of Hike


Trail Conditions

Trail in good condition


Road suitable for all vehicles


No bugs


Snow free

This trip marked a solid year of backpacking at least once a month. Over the full year, I went backpacking 13 times. It was exciting to finish up my goal by waking up in a tent on Christmas Eve. 

The road and trail were snow free and in good condition. A few stream crossings required getting my feet slightly wet (but my boots kept my socks dry.) My husband with a lot longer legs was usually able to stay out of the water.

We hiked as far as the first camp at Bark Shanty and set up our tent. There are a number of tent spots there, as well as a handy little bench that was nice for cooking/eating on. 

After setting up camp, we strolled up the trail for maybe a mile or so. The trail from this point on had more water. A few places were muddy, but nothing terrible. 

It was a quite a beautiful hike — an excellent trip to make in the winter. We saw one other group on the day we hiked in and one other group on the day we hiked out. We were, not shockingly, the only ones backpacking. 


That's it for a trip report. If that's all you needed, as you were. Otherwise, carry on to read about my goal to go backpacking all year. 

For my final trip of the year, my husband decided to come with me. I'd assumed I'd be on my own, so I was excited to have company. This trip got pushed back several times, until it finally ended up rather late in the month. The forecast was a 90 percent chance of rain — not shocking for December. Yet, for once, we lucked out. It didn't rain once while we were out. In fact, we woke up to blue skies. 

When I set this goal, I was extremely excited about it. And now that it's over, I know it's going to change how I think about backpacking. It doesn't seem like a big deal to pack up and head out anymore. (Although, oy, I still HATE unpacking when I get home.) This was a year of a lot of short trips, and I loved that having this goal help me get out all year long. It's been fun looking back at where I hiked:

  • Middle Fork Snoqualmie River
  • Ancient Lakes
  • Second Beach
  • Baker Lake
  • Greenwater Lakes
  • Ipsut Camp
  • Glacier Lake
  • Goat Rocks
  • White Pass -- Pilot Ridge Loop
  • Cutthroat Lakes
  • Lake Ann
  • Jay Lake
  • And, of course, Lower Big Quilcene

I loved sharing my final trip with my husband — it's good for us to get some time to just ourselves. (Thanks Mom and Dad for watching the kiddo so we could backpack by ourselves.) Hiking is good for talking and dreaming, and we made plans for potential hikes for next year. 

Now, I'm dreaming about 2019. I think I've settled on a goal. At the end of 2019, I turn 40. So, this year, I will aim to hike on 40 unique trails. For me, a mom who works full time and has a busy family to take into consideration, that's going to mean a lot of close-in trails. But I also want to explore a bit wider, so I'm going to see how many regions I can hit in our hiking guide. 

Happy hiking!


hikingwithlittledogs on Lower Big Quilcene River

Way to finish up the year! My goal was to have my first backpacking experience and I ended up with 3 separate overnighters. I’m going to save your list. Very inspirational!

Posted by:

hikingwithlittledogs on Dec 26, 2018 11:40 AM

Jessi Loerch on Lower Big Quilcene River

Way to go you, too!

And I highly recommend all of these trips. (With only two exceptions, they're all doable in a single night. Great for quick getaways.)

Posted by:

Jessi Loerch on Dec 26, 2018 12:02 PM

mato on Lower Big Quilcene River

Congrats! If you haven't done so yet, check out Independence Lake this summer. Close enough to take the kiddo with you.

Posted by:

mato on Dec 26, 2018 04:24 PM

Jessi Loerch on Lower Big Quilcene River

Will do! Thanks for the tip.

Posted by:

Jessi Loerch on Jan 02, 2019 05:15 PM