Harrison Lake - Tunnel Creek Shelter, Tunnel Creek Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Harrison Lake - Tunnel Creek Shelter - 7.8 miles
Tunnel Creek Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||7.8 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||2,600' - 4,700' (max elevation 4,725')|
|Elevation Change:||+2,100 net elevation gain (+2,800 total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Harrison Lake - Tunnel Creek Shelter - 7.8 Miles Round-Trip
The Tunnel Creek Trail to Harrison Lake is a 7.8 mile roundtrip hike to a small subalpine lake nestled at 4,700' within the Buckhorn Wilderness. The trail follows Tunnel Creek through a high canopied forest and features stunning views of the Buckhorn and Olympic mountain ranges.
Leaving from the Tunnel Creek Trailhead (0.0 miles : 2,700') the trail rises gently through a narrow riparian corridor rife with seasonal logjams and downfall. The trail slowly veers up and away from the creek riding a hillside above the valley floor (.5 miles : 2,650'). Tunnel creek disappears from eyesight, but it will rarely escape earshot.
The trail briefly levels out as it leads through a mature hemlock grove (1.0 miles: 2,950'). The towering old growth hemlocks provide a distinct dichotomy to the young saplings which fill the forest floor.
The trail continues beneath the high forest canopy, parallelling Tunnel Creek (1.5 miles : 3,215'). Occasional breaks in the trees offer views of the Tunnel Creek Valley and the base of Mt Constance.
Continuing on its gentle ascent, the trail reaches the Tunnel Creek Shelter - one of the few established backcountry camping options (2.75 miles : 3,700').
The trail passes the shelter (3.0 miles : 3,805'), crosses Tunnel Creek and begins a very aggressive ascent to Harrison Lake (3.9 miles : 4,700'). The trail will climb 900' in the final .9 miles with grades that can exceed 30 degrees.
The trail continues .5 miles past Harrison Lake to the Dosewallips Divide (4.4 miles : 5,050' - where views are impressive.
- N47 46.884 W123 03.120 — 0.0 miles: Tunnel Creek Trailhead - 2,600'
- N47 46.768 W123 03.645 — 0.5 miles: Hiking along Tunnel Creek - 2,650'
- N47 46.672 W123 04.240 — 1.0 miles: Mature hemlock forest - 2,950'
- N47 46.545 W123 04.800 — 1.5 miles: Continue through forest - 3,215'
- N47 46.289 W123 05.314 — 2.0 miles: Unchanging forest - 3,480'
- N47 45.791 W123 05.798 — 2.75 miles: Tunnel Creek Shelter - 3,700'
- N47 45.682 W123 05.983 — 3.0 miles: Cross Tunnel Creek - 3,805'
- N47 45.567 W123 05.589 — 3.5 miles: Aggressive ascent - 4,400'
- N47 45.546 W123 05.432 — 3.9 miles: Harrison Lake - 4,700'
- After the Tunnel Creek Shelter, hikers can choose the Stock Trail or Hiker Trail for the final .9 miles to Harrison Lake. Some consider the stock trail easier.
- Upon reaching the lake, be sure to climb above it to take in views of Mt Constance and the Buckhorn Wilderness Mountain Range.
- Be mindful of hunting season as the Quilcene area is a popular hunting area. Wear bright colors in fall and use common sense.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Backcountry camping is permitted with a permit. There are a couple of fine established backcountry sites around Harrison Lake.
Fishing is permitted with a valid WA State fishing license. Please contact the Quilcene Ranger office for latest fishing regulations - as they change annually.
Rules and Regulations
The following are prohibited:
- Groups consisting of more than 12 persons and/or 8 head of livestock.
- Starting and/or maintaining open fires, such as camp, cooking and warming fires above 3,500 feet elevation.
- Gathering wood for starting and/or maintaining open fires or stoves above 3,500 feet elevation.
- Tethering of livestock to trees and/or other vegetation, except for incidental use not to exceed 30 minutes.
- Possessing and/or transporting unprocessed vegetative matter such as hay, straw, grass or grain. The use of pelletized or certified weed free feed is required in all National Forests in the Pacific Northwest. This helps prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plants.
- Caching or leaving equipment, personal property or supplies unattended for a period in excess of 24 hours.
Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than 6 months. (Orders Number 900-017, 018 & 024, pursuant to 36 CFR, sections 261.50 (a) and (b).)
Directions to Trailhead
The Tunnel Creek Trailhead is located off of Highway 101 near the town of Quilcene, WA in the Hood Canal Ranger District. From Quilcene, drive 1 mile south to Penny Creek Road and turn right. Drive 1.4 miles on Penny Creek Road to a split, bear left and drive another 1.5 miles to another major split and bear left onto County Road 2740. Drive for 3.5 miles then bear left again for 3.3 miles to remain on County Road 2740 to the trailhead. The county road dead ends into the Tunnel Creek Trailhead.
Hood Canal Ranger District - Quilcene Office
295142 Highway 101 S.
PO Box 280
Quilcene, WA 98376
(360) 765 2200
TDD (360) 765 2200
Winter schedule: Monday-Friday 8-4:30. Interpretive sales area is open weekends & holidays 9-3, staffed by North Hood Canal Chamber of Commerce. Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Summer schedule - Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday-Friday, weekends & holidays 8-4:30.