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Big Creek Trail



6.8 mile 10.9 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 3,142' 958 m
Descent: -445' -136 m
High: 3,198' 975 m
Low: 502' 153 m


Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 44% (24°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Doug Scott

A rainforest trek, passing huge trees and timeless low alpine lakes.

Doug Scott

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Open all year, but may be incredibly tough in the winter months.


While many will prefer to follow the North Fork Quinault River Trail up to Low Divide, the hearty and rugged hikers will enjoy the trek up to the Skyline Trail junction. Passing Numerous lakes and ponds, and the world's largest Alaskan Cedar, this trail is scenic and steep, a perfect blend of everything that makes the Olympic National Park trails so awesome.

The trail starts out gentle in a pretty forest before diving right into the immense wilderness of Olympic. Within a mile, you reach Irely Lake. The lake isn't stunning like many others in the park, but does have numerous sightings of osprey, woodpeckers, and eagles. The trail is also frequented by black bears, so make plenty of noise while on the ascent.

Past the lake, the trail starts to climb through the forest, gaining 1,000 feet before finally crossing Big Creek. The bridge is pretty, and shows off the power of the torrential rains that make this region so green and lush. From here, the trail climbs and climbs, giving off glimpses of the surrounding mountains before spitting itself out at the aptly named Three Lakes. Here, the trail joins the Skyline Trail, which leads to even more amazing views of the wilderness of Olympic National Park.

Flora & Fauna

Huge trees, including some record breakers like the world's largest Alaskan Cedar line this trail. Watch for black bear and deer, as well as hawks, osprey and eagles.

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May 15, 2019
Kelsey Eliason
Almost empty trail, went to lake irely and back 2mi — 3h 45m
Jul 14, 2018
Zack Freeman
Great spot to camp or take a dip at the river crossing!
Dec 9, 2017
Steffen Weiss
The trail seemed washed out about half a mile after the fork leading to the lake 3mi — 2h 20m
Jul 11, 2016
Keith Christoffers
Lets do this

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 5 votes


  4.0 from 5 votes
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in Washington


8 Views Last Month
997 Since Mar 5, 2015



Bridge on the Big Creek Trail in Olympic National Park in Feb 2016 taken on a day with 2 inches of rain. The bridge was off its footings, but still passable for those willing to traverse the log jam on the far side.
Feb 20, 2016 near Central…, WA
A small bridge near Irely Lake.
Feb 19, 2016 near Central…, WA
Crossing Big Creek in the record summer of 2015.
Feb 19, 2016 near Central…, WA
Three Lakes.
Feb 19, 2016 near Seabeck, WA
Irely Lake on the Big Creek Trail in Olympic National Park in Feb 2016. Looked like a surreal ghost lake during a winter rainstorm.
Feb 20, 2016 near Central…, WA
Record Alaskan Cedar.
Feb 19, 2016 near Seabeck, WA


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