Last August we attempted to find the Gold Creek Trailhead above the Dungeness River. We drove a bunch of roads and didn’t find much of any clues where the trail started.
During our September trip on the Pacific Northwest Trail from Sleepy Hollow to Whiskey Bend on the Elwha, we used the Gold Creek Trail so we knew there must be an end to it somewhere.
We finally discovered the blocked road on the east side of the Dungeness. Behind a large pile of dirt and debris, there was a trail leading down the old overgrown road that didn’t look very used or maintained. We reasoned that this was the old road that descended to the East Crossing Campground on the Dungeness. We still wondered how the Gold Creek Trail could be so well maintained halfway up, and it looked so unmaintained back at the road.
Well, we figured it out when we hiked the Lower Dungeness up to the upper trailhead. We took Forest Road 2870 from Palo Alto Road and crossed the river at Dungeness Forks Campground. Road 2870 continues until it intersects with the old Road 2860 that came up from East Crossing on the Dungeness. We drove down this road and came to, what d’ya know, a parking area with two trailheads. One for the Lower Dungeness and one for the Gold Creek Trail. We didn’t actually go down to see by it’s a sure thing that the old bridge is still there at East Crossing. It’s just that the road on the other side of the river from there has been washed out or destroyed. The Forest Service never put it back in service.
And that’s how that mystery was solved!