Dosewallips State Park, Washington

Dosewallips RiverJune 7-9, 2013

Dosewallips State Park sits on the Dosewallips River right where it runs into the Hood Canal (map). When we'd come last summer, we'd encountered about 50 seals in the mouth of the river while canoeing. The kids thought this sounded like a lot of fun, so we returned to this spot for our second annual family campout. It was a long drive from Eugene for a two-night campout, but it was closer for Tobi and Ronan, and it ended up being well worth it.


The weather was typical rain forest cool and gray, but we had enough sun on Saturday afternoon to get out in the canoe and kayak and enjoy the seals. And on Saturday morning, we got to experience the phenomenon of dozens of clammers digging on the Hood Canal beach.

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Hood CanalAugust 27-29, 2012

We got there mid-afternoon and the weather was beautiful. The main part of the park is an open grassy area, where most of the RVs and campers gathered. But we went under a bridge to a loop on the Hood Canal side of the highway. Not only were the sites right on the river but the area was nearly empty.

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We found a perfect spot, shielded by blackberry bushes, with our own river beach. Only pit toilets on our loop, but we could walk or drive to the main area for a full restroom with showers.

That first afternoon, we took the "beach walk" through meadows, along canals, to the Hood Canal, which is actually an ocean inlet, part of Puget Sound.



Murhut Falls

The next morning we went on two waterfall hikes. The first, Murhut Falls, is on the Duckabush River, just south of Doswallips. It was a bit of a drive, several miles on gravel, and a 2-mile hike up to the falls, but when we got there, we were awed. It was absolutely worth it.

Rocky Brook Falls are only a few miles northeast of the park on private land, but accessible by the public (if you know how to get there). We got directions from the camp ranger and were surprised when after a short walk we found ourselves at the base of a huge cliff waterfall.

After lunch and a little rest, we decided to blow up the canoe and go for an explore. The Doswallips River was low and rocky and where we put in at our site, moving fast, so it was a bit of a challenge at the start. But the river soon took us to the Hood Canal, which was moving way too fast for us to navigate.

There at the mouth of the river were dozens of seals: leaping, playing, and swimming close with heads up. They seemed especially curious about Bailey.


seals on the river

The seals were exciting, but a bit intimidating. We paddled hrough the seals back to a canal that took us to the far end of the campground, and we carried our canoe back from there.

We would love to go back, during high tide, and explore the canals more.


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