I wasn’t originally planning to go to Olympic National Park today, but yesterday Glenn Tachiyama posted the first clue to find the Quicksilver Running Club silver coin (see below). If you find the coin, you win free entry to the Quicksilver 50k/100k in San Jose, and are entered to win a $500 travel stipend. My college BFF lives in the Bay Area, and I’m always looking for a good excuse to go visit her. Also, I love a good treasure hunt.
My husband and I decided the coin had to be on the Barnes Creek trail in Olympic National Park. I was planning on running early this morning anyway, so I woke up at 430 and caught the first ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. I was at the Storm King Ranger Station by the time Glenn posted his second clue today… and unfortunately the second clue made me realize I was probably in the wrong place (Clue 2: “You can narrow down the location by listening to the new Death Cab for Cutie single, Black Sun”).
But I figured I was there, and ONP is gorgeous, so I’d go for a run and do a quick check for the coin. I ended up running the Barnes Creek trail from the Storm King ranger station to the Aurora Divide junction. No coin. However, it was a beautiful morning and a great run despite coming up empty-handed. Total mileage was ~8.75 miles, and ~1650 ft of elevation gain (most of which happens during the last mile or two).
The trail itself is in great condition. Completely snow-free. Only a few blow-downs, and they were all easy to get around. Some descriptions of this trail indicate that you have to ford a creek – not anymore. There are log bridges over every significant creek.
The only potentially tricky part is at approx 1 mile, where you reach an unsigned fork in the trail. Take a sharp right at this fork and head downhill to cross Barnes Creek on a series of log bridges. Other than that, you’d be hard pressed to get lost on this trail.
Like many creek trails, this is a great choice for a rainy day. Unlike many creek trails, it does have some elevation gain. The first couple miles are pretty flat, but after that the trail switchbacks steeply up above Barnes Creek. The climbing isn’t that difficult, but it would definitely catch you by surprise if you were planning on easy terrain.