Visit the Preserve

We are pleased to provide our community with access to the Rhododendron Preserve, a rare old growth forest in an urbanized area of Kitsap County. Through the lens of the forest we will preserve, inspire, and educate.

Big Tree Trail

We maintain the Big Tree trail into the Preserve. The trailhead begins at the Kitsap Cabin and is marked with a kiosk. The trail ends at Big Tree. Please stay on the trail. The hike to Big Tree is 1.5 miles, round trip.

The Rhododendron Preserve is a nature conservancy and home to wild creatures. Visitors assume all risks inherent in visiting the Preserve.

Big Tree Rhododendron Preserve Map

Getting There

Parking is located at The Mountaineers Kitsap Cabin and Kitsap Forest Theater Complex located at 2401 Seabeck Hwy NW, Bremerton. The parking lot can be very busy!

We recommend leaving a note on your car that you are on the Preserve.

The entrance to the Preserve is shared with The Mountaineers and crosses private property. We ask visitors to be thoughtful of other users of the property and to drive slowly and cautiously.

Trillium in bloom

Visiting Us FAQ

Can I go on a guided tour of the Preserve?

YES! We periodically have guided tours. Please sign up for upcoming tours and events.

Can I bring my dog or pet on the trail?

NO! Dogs and pets are not allowed at the Preserve or on the trail. Thank you for leaving your pets home. Even the most well behaved dog disrupts the natural rhythms of the animals that make the Preserve their home.

Can I pick the rhododendrons, berries, or mushrooms?

NO, please leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures and great memories.

When do the salmon spawn?

Salmon spawning time is dependent on the weather. Typically the spawning run happens in November, but it can happen earlier or later, depending on stream flow.

How big is Big Tree?

Big Tree is a Douglas fir tree that is over 30 feet around. It is the largest publicly accessible Douglas fir in Kitsap County.

How are The Mountaineers, Mountaineers Foundation, and Keta Legacy Foundation related?

The Mountaineers was founded in 1906 as a private club for outdoor enthusiasts of the Pacific Northwest.

Mountaineers Foundation was established in 1968 as a 501(c)(3) organization with an independent board and unique mission. The founders wanted to work on conservation and environmental issues outside the scope of the climbing club.

Mountaineers Foundation has been an independent organization since its founding. Mountaineers Foundation, and Keta Legacy Foundation, exercise control and oversight over our organization and assets. We have a cooperative relationship with The Mountaineers while maintaining control over our organization and assets.

In 2018, Mountaineers Foundation added Keta Legacy Foundation to reflect our core values. The update also helps our donors understand that our mission is unique and separate from The Mountaineers.

The Keta Legacy Foundation owns, maintains and protects the Rhododendron Preserve in perpetuity.