Location: Olympic NP, Hoodsport
Roundtrip: 4 Miles (2 mi. w/o Four Streams)
Gain: 150 Ft.
The Staircase Rapids trail is a classic and it’s something you shouldn’t miss if you’re camping in the Staircase Campground.
You’ll begin by crossing over the bridge that’s visible from the parking area. There are a few benches here where you can stop and enjoy the sound of rushing water from the North Fork of Skokomish River just below.
Also, make sure you take a moment to carefully look over and into the waters; sometimes the river shines in brilliant blue hues.
You’ll continue past the trailhead a short way before coming to a small sign with an arrow. The sign simply says, “Big Ceder.” This is a short detour and worth the effort. The base of the tree, which is now resting on its side, has a 14-foot diameter!
If you so choose to take the short spur trail to the Big Ceder you can make your way right back to the main trail whenever you’re ready.
For the most part, the main trail is easy and only has a few spots where you’ll have to navigate a few rocks as the trail meanders through the old growth forest.
You’ll find the sign pictured above after about a mile on the main loop. From here you can either decide to travel down to (and back from) Four Streams by taking the trail to the left, or you may decide to continue right on to the bridge that crosses over the rapids by bearing right.
Either way, you’ll end up making your way across the bridge. After taking in the views you’ll find that the trail coming off the bridge is a touch tricky due to some social trails that have been cut down to the river. Just keep to the left and follow the trail back into the forest opposite the way you came.
Not long after crossing the bridge you’ll come to another small wooden sign pointing towards the ranger station by the campground. You’ll follow the arrow to the right and hike a quick mile back to finish the loop.
The trail ends in the overnight parking behind the ranger station; if you parked in the day use area or campground you’ll continue on just a bit more before you actually reach your vehicle.
Are There Toilets? : There is a vault toilet located at the trail head.
How about Picnic Tables? : There are a few tables hidden on the trail to the amphitheater, but I wouldn’t count on eating lunch there.
Do I Need a Parking Pass? : Yes. Either display your National Parks Pass or pay the entrance fee.
Are Dogs Allowed? : No. This trail is located completely within the National Park.
Can We Camp Here? : Yes! Staircase Campground is located right by the trailhead. This campground does not have reservable sites.
When is the Best Time to Visit? : This area is open all year!