The trail to La Crosse Pass leads southward from the West Dosewallips Trail six and a half miles to the Duckabush River Trail. The route ascends 3,925 feet to La Crosse Pass then descends almost 3,000 feet into the Duckabush River valley. This trail can be used to form a loop between the two drainages using a car shuttle. It provides views of the surrounding peaks as it leads through montane and subalpine forests and subalpine meadows. This description details the trek from north to south.
Begin this route by walking northwestward from Dosewallips Ranger Station. A short distance from the ranger station the trail splits. The left side of the fork follows the Terrace Trail, which leads along a high terrace above the river. This trail eventually leads back to the main route. The main trail in the mean time crosses Pass Creek ascending 165 feet. After the two trails merge the route continues along the eastern bank of the river to Dose Forks. At this junction the trail leading to the left is the West Fork Dosewallips Trail. Follow this trail as it descends to Dose Forks Camp then crosses a bridge to the southern bank of the Dosewallips River. Beyond this crossing the trail leads westward then turns northward and crosses the West Fork Dosewallips River. Once on the northern side of the West Fork the trail turns westward and begins ascending quickly as it parallels the river. Less than a mile from the crossing hikers can look across the river and see Hungry Creek emptying into the West Fork from the eastern ridge of Mt. Elk Lick. Immediately west of this viewpoint the trail begins a half mile descent to Big Timber Camp. This camp consists of 11 designated sites and a pit toilet.
Beyond Big Timber Camp the trail continues to ascend, but more gently. In two miles it reaches a small stream and crosses it to enter Diamond Meadows. On the western bank of this small stream descending from Diamond Mountain is an opening in the old growth conifer forest that dominates this area. There are several good campsites in this wooded area by the confluence of Elk Lick Creek and the West Fork. A pit toilet is maintained at this site.
Walking west from Diamond Meadows the trail crosses the West Fork and ascends as the valley narrows. The trail climbs 650 feet in the next mile and a half before crossing the river again. On the northern bank of the river the trail enters Honeymoon Meadows, which lies at 3,525 feet. At the western fringe of the meadows the trail forks with the La Crosse Pass Trail leading southward from the West Fork Dosewallips Trail. Follow the La Crosse Pass Trail southward as it crosses the West Fork Dosewallips River and leads through a thick stand of willows.
The trail leads eastward along the river and crosses a small tributary before turning southward. It begins to switchback up the northwestern flanks of Mt. Elk Lick through thick forest. After about one mile of switchbacks the trail ascends less steeply and soon enters subalpine meadows. When the forest dissipates the views of Mt. La Crosse and Mt. Elk Lick abound. Northward across the valley hikers can see Mt. Anderson and the Anderson Glacier, as well as Diamond Mountain to the east.
The trail reaches the pass in approximately three miles after gaining nearly 4,000 feet. The views from the pass southward include the Duckabush River below, Mts. Steel and Duckabush at the head of the valley and Mt. Hopper immediately south across the valley. The trail descends steadily as it enters the Duckabush River valley. The first mile leads through subalpine meadows, usually blooming in mid July. The trail shortly enters the subalpine forest then montane forest as it descends along a series of short switchbacks.
The trail reaches the Duckabush Trail after descending 3,000 feet and three and a half miles. The river is not immediately accessible as the trail junction lies on a terrace high above it. The nearest water source lies three quarters of a mile west of the junction. To reach the Duckabush Trailhead walk eastward along the Duckabush River Trail.
Directions: From Brinnon, Drive north on Highway 101 to Dosewallips River Road, number 2610. Turn westward (left) on to Dosewallips River Road and travel 15 miles to the ranger station and trailhead. The last portion of the road is narrow and steep. It may be slippery when wet.
Elevation: 1,640 feet
Ending Elevation: 2,625 feet
Usage: Heavy in Summer
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