5/1/15- Reported access issues on Lower Dungeness and roads/parking lots—contact forest service for updated status: (360) 765 2200
How about a ride that has a little of everything? There’s smooth and wide, rocky and exposed, up and down(repeat), logging road climb, fast descents, remote location, rushing river, old growth, and some definite hike-a-bike(you can avoid most of this with a start variation). It begins with a roly poly up and down eventual descent to the Dungeness River. Once near the river you have some incredible old growth rain forest riding to a concrete bridge (the nominal half-way point). A logging road climb of over 1,000 vertical feet brings you to the Gold Creek Trail. This trail hugs the side of Dirty Face Peak – fast and smooth in places and very exposed in other spots, you’ll wish you had your seatbelt fastened. After some exhilarating downhills don’t think the climbing has stopped because this trail still has some steep short lungbusters ahead. Eventually you will start switchbacking down down down to the river and the road and the 1 mile(uphill) back to the car.
Trails are typically open from late March through November or later, depending on snowfall. Short sections may be muddy in winter and early spring. The Dungeness in the rainshadow of the Olympics, and may be dry when most other areas of Western Washington have showers.
Landowner is USFS Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District, Quilcene.
The East Crossing trail segment (former FS2860 road) is proposed as an official system trail, which would allow its continued maintenance, and improvements at the Eddy Creek crossing. USFS will survey this proposal in 2012.
Trails are maintained entirely by volunteers with the Gray Wolf Trail Crew, Backcountry Horsemen of Washington, Pacific Northwest Trail Association, and Washington Trails Association.
Road #230 is closed because of a major landslide in the Lower dungeness/Gold creek trailhead area. The trailhead is taped off and does not look very safe with major cracks in the road and collapsed trees.
We have left our car at the beginning of road 230 and rode down on bikes, entering the Dungeness trail about a mile above from the trailhead, where #230 is blocked by large boulders. Further up it all looks good, except of one major washdown a little above the shelter. Portion of the trail disappeared down in the river and we had to scramble over broken trees and loose gravel on a steep slope.
Even with this complications, it was a great ride with super though leg burning climbs up the Lower Dungeness trail (hike-a-bike inevitable in parts) and with a rewarding tricky downhill on the narrow but smooth Gold Creek trail.
Trail is in great condition, what a phenomenal ride.