The Olympic National Park Staircase is an area that is situated outside the Hoodsport, which is the small town of Hood Canal. This particular part of the park is immersed in old growth forest, home to a campground, North Fork Skokomish’s trailhead, and a (seasonal) ranger station. If you want to enjoy a relax hiking path while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and the natural scene. So, what makes this area special?
Olympic National Park Staircase Main Appeals
This path is relatively short, ‘only’ 2.1 miles in distance, but you get to explore the canopy of old trees, including the western red cedars, western hemlocks, and also Douglas firs whose age can reach 300 years to 400 years.
There are also some spots that highlight the trail. If you explore these spots along the Staircase trailhead, you will enjoy the breathtaking view.
This would be the beginning of your hike. In its first 1.4 miles, hikers would be pampered with a gigantic fallen cedar. You need to cross the (paved) bridge crossing the Skokomish River and you will come across these huge trees. They would mark the small fork where you can see the magnificent old growth timber.
After you have passed the fallen giant, the trail would direct you to the river. This is the time when you see the Skokomish River. You can enjoy the views of that river, but you should be extra careful when you want to get close to the river. If you want to get the best view, you can do it from the (giant) tree growing from the rock.
Rock and Tree
This is another view that you can explore during your hike, still getting you the view of the river while allowing you to explore more of your path. The view is somewhat scenic. Roots draping the rocks look like the cascading tentacles that are in search of the rocks.
How to Reach the Staircase
Start from Hoodsport. Follow the directions heading to Lake Cushman. You should drive on the (narrow) gravel road that goes along the east side of the lake. If you continue driving, you will reach the Staircase entrance. Keep in mind that it’s difficult to get GPS navigation as the trail is surrounded by tall trees. Moreover, cell phone service is quite weak around the lake area. That’s why most people using this trail would equip themselves with the map.
From the Staircase Ranger Station, you can walk over the river bridge until you reach the trailhead. The (overflow) parking will end the loop. It’s located right behind the (ranger) station.