Hike: Big Creek Loop Trail (WA)
Spring Hiking in January
Winter in the Northwest can be the worst of times (long periods of wet and gray or brief freezing Arctic blasts), but it can also be the best of times. We got the latter today as we had a delightful Spring-like hike in the mid- January. We also discovered a little jewel of a hike and send our thanks to the volunteers who created the Big Creek Loop Trail by building links between some abandoned logging roads. The trail had sturdy bridges with good hand rails, excellent signage, a well maintained path, and even a well-marked troll under one bridge.
The trail starts near Big Creek Campground (about 9 miles from Hoodsport). Because of damage to the Big Creek bridges in 2007, you have to walk a few hundred feet down SR 119 to find the new trailhead, but it was easy to locate. The trail does most of its climbing early; we gained about 900-1000 feet in 1.7 miles, but the climb brought us out of the fog, lifted our spirits, and gave us some peek-a-views of Mts. Ellinor and Washington. We actually saw sunshine, and my pupils constricted for the first time in many weeks.
Big Creek Loop is about 4 miles (with another half mile or so on the camp’s nature trail to get back to our car). We clearly had a bit of premature spring fever as we finished; we talked about how next time we will take the junction that leads ultimately to the summit of Mt. Ellinor, a hike which is far too ambitious and snow covered right now, but such delusions are probably symptoms of spring fever in January.