Staircase Campground is, undoubtedly, one of our all-time favorites. The campground itself is tucked among an old growth forest alongside the North Fork of the Skokomish River, and, at just over an hour from Olympia, it’s well worth the drive.
Price: $20 per night
Extra Parking: NP Pass may be used
Online Reservations: No
Max Length: 21 ft., a few for 35 ft.
Restrooms: Flush toilets, *primitive in winter
Potable Water: Yes, *primitive in winter
*Pit toilets and no water in the off-season*
After departing from Highway 101 in Hoodsport it’ll be a 16-mile drive to the trailhead. A section of this drive (about 9 miles) will be on a dirt road. While there are a number of potholes on this road it is passable by almost all vehicles and campers. Go slow and enjoy the view of Lake Cushman along the way!
Just before you enter the Olympic National Park the asphalt will begin again. Not far from here you’ll pass through an entrance station for Olympic National Park. Keep in mind that you will still be responsible for the fee even if there are no rangers present (you can also use a NP Pass).
There is a Ranger Station just beyond the fee station. This station may not be manned in winter, but is typically a popular stop in the warmer months. You can either park here, by the ranger station, in an overnight parking lot to the right, or within the campground to the left.
The sites within the campground are quite private, and a number of sites have an amazing view of the river. In summer the trees keep the area cool while in autumn the fall foliage will make you want to grab a cup of hot cider and snuggle up by the fire- both are great!
Even in the most popular months, the bathrooms are not lit at night (don’t forget to grab a flashlight!), but they are well maintained and clean. In winter the bathrooms are closed and you’ll be required to walk over to the entrance of the campground to use a vault toilet located there.
Likewise, there is potable water available in the warmer months but the flow is stopped in the winter; you’ll need to pack in water during this time. Once decided, the date of shut off will be announced here each year, it was October 9th this year.
This campground is well suited to both children and avid hikers alike. In summer you can take the entire family down to enjoy a ranger-led presentation in the amphitheater. If you’re well conditioned, head up to Wagon Wheel Lake (it has a 3,000 ft. gain!) or, if you’re looking for an easier hike, head to the Staircase Rapids trail!