- Hiking, Recreation Type
- 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
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Staircase, located in the southeastern corner of Olympic National Park, is dominated by enormous Douglas firs. You'll find a variety of hiking trails along the Skokomish River and the nearby forests. The Staircase Rapids Loop Trail is an easy 2-mile path that leads visitors through old-growth forest to a bridge over the North Fork Skokomish River, with only a 200-foot elevation gain. A spur trail leads to a huge fallen cedar. There's also the flat Shady Lane Trail, which measures less than a mile and takes visitors to Lake Cushman. If you're looking for more of a challenge, consider the 7½-mile hike to Flapjack Lakes, which boasts a 3,000-foot elevation.
Several recent visitors said the short trails were great for beginners and families with young kids. If you're visiting in summer, several reviewers also recommended bringing your swimsuit to take advantage of several swimming spots along the trails.
Access to the area is included in park admission. Staircase is about a one-hour drive north of Olympia and two hours south of Port Angeles. There's a ranger station that is open in summer (when staffing allows) with information, exhibits, wilderness permits, bear canisters and maps. You'll find a campground here as well. The access road to the Staircase area is unpaved is sometimes closed due to hazardous weather conditions, such as snow. Make sure to check the park's website to check the road's current status.