Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail

Olympic National Park - Hood Canal

Hood Canal + Eastern Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Start Exploring
Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail

Share:

Advertisement
  • North Fork Skokomish River Trailhead just north of the Staircase Visitor Center.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • North Fork Skokomish Trail.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • North Fork Skokomish Trail.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Slate Creek along the North Fork Skokomish Trail.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Old-growth forest of Douglas fir, western hemlock, and western redcedar.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids suspension bridge.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Staircase Rapids on the North Fork of the Skokomish River.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Staircase Rapids on the North Fork of the Skokomish River.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Staircase Rapids on the North Fork of the Skokomish River.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Moss along the Rapids Loop Trail.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Rapids Loop Trail.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Staircase Rapids on the North Fork of the Skokomish River.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Staircase Rapids on the North Fork of the Skokomish River.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) along Rapids Loop Trail.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • Old-growth western redcedar (Thuja plicata) along the Rapids Loop Trail.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • North Fork of the Skokomish River.- Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
  • - Skokomish River, Staircase Rapids Loop Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Family friendly. Old growth forest. Suspension bridge. Scenic River.
Cons: 
Heavily used during summer months. Trail often very muddy.
Advertisement
Region:
Hood Canal + Eastern Olympic Peninsula, WA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
150.00 ft (45.72 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
2.20 mi (3.54 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
800.00 ft (243.84 m)
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

This is a short, beautiful loop hike that leaves from the Staircase Ranger Station and follows the North Fork of the Skokomish River upstream to Staircase Rapids. At just over 2 miles, this mostly level loop is a great option for families staying in Staircase Campground or anyone looking for a short walk to combine with a day on Lake Cushman.

Beginning from the ranger station, the North Fork Skokomish River Trail plunges into the quintessential Olympic forest of western redcedar, hemlock, and Douglas fir trees. Lush sword ferns and mosses create a dense understory, and the trail cuts through as a narrow band. For much of this portion of the hike the trail stays northeast of the river, leaving you to enjoy the thick woods. You'll encounter Slate Creek, which is worth a little exploration, and roughly a half-mile later the junction to the new suspension bridge. This $1.2-million project was completed in 2013 after the original bridge was washed out from high flows in 1998. Built much higher than its predecessor, this bridge looks like it will be servicing the loop for some time.

Enjoy the long and terraced rapid from several perspectives, including from the bridge. At low flows, the setting here can be calm and tame. Seasonal snowmelt and rains can transform this area into quite a torrent, however, so be sure to watch younger hikers if you are exploring during the winter and spring. Once you have finished here, cross the bridge and return downstream along the Rapids Loop Trail to complete the loop at the campground and ranger station. Alternately, if you have more time, continue upstream on the North Fork Skokomish Trail toward Flapjack Lakes or Big Log Camp.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(35 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
50 Members
Who's Done It
34 Members
Submission by
Team
366 Adventures Explored
343 Adventures Published
Team
1266 Adventures Explored
1264 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info