Celebrate 100 Years of National Parks at Olympic’s Staircase Region

You can have your cake in nature too!

On Saturday, May 14th, Olympic National Park will celebrate the centennial of National Parks on the Staircase region. Taking place on a Saturday, visitors are encouraged to show up early and enjoy the events that will take place between the hours of 10:30am and 3:30pm. This is FREE event and is family-friendly, hopefully inspiring you to #FindYourPark and fall in love with the Staircase region of Olympic. Dress for the any weather, wear sturdy walking shoes, bring a lunch and be ready to fall in love with one of The Outdoor Society’s favorite destinations.

Largely overlooked, it is awesome to see some love for Staircase, as it is the only drivable point of entry on the eastern side of Olympic. Staircase is located 15 miles from Hoodsport, Washington along Hood Canal. The drive out is stunning and the opportunities to hike are limitless. With mountains to climb, lakes to discover,  jaw-dropping views and the always stunning Staircase Loop Trail waiting for your adventures, attending this centennial celebration at Staircase is something you must do. Staircase is just a little over an hour from Olympia and about two hours from downtown Seattle. If you haven’t experienced Staircase before, this event will be an awesome introduction.

With Junior Ranger Programs, talks on history, archaeology and backpacking, and even a chance to meet some pack mules, this is a fantastic way to connect with both park staff and the great outdoors. Who knows, you might even see the Outdoor Society there!

Even Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum is stoked to have an event at Staircase:

“We invite people of all ages to come enjoy this special Centennial event at Staircase,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “We are especially proud and grateful for the volunteers who contribute their time and energy to the Staircase area – this special day is the product of their initiative and hard work.”

Keep in mind that for this event and pretty much every weekend from now until September, parking will be limited at Staircase. If you can, carpool. Otherwise, show up early and spend the whole day there. Typically, hitting up Staircase by 8:30am will get you there with enough time to easily find a spot. Obviously, busier weekends will see the small parking area fill up even sooner.

The rapids of the Skokomish River, Olympic National Park
The rapids of the Skokomish River, Olympic National Park

Staircase Celebration Events Schedule

10:30 – 11:30: Centennial Welcome 

10:30 – 3:00: Meet the Backcountry Mules 

11:00 – 3:00: Jr. Ranger Activities

Activities include a scavenger hunt, wilderness camp, and crafts. Jr. Ranger’s can earn a certificate and prizes.

11:30 – 12:00: Historic O’Neil Expedition

Learn about O’Neils expedition across the Olympics with George Bowen, Staircase Ranger from 1972 to 1993.

12:30 – 1:00: Happy 100th Birthday!

Celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service and eat some cake.

1:00 – 1:45: Olympic National Park Archaeology

Learn about the about archaeological discoveries in the Staircase area and Olympic National Park with Park Archaeologist Dave Conca. 

2:30 – 3:15: Hike Your Park – Backpacking Olympic 101

Learn the basics of backpacking in the Olympic Wilderness with Wilderness Ranger Ruth Scott.

3:15 to ???: Take a Hike!

Once the Event is over, take a hike on the Staircase Loop Trail and take in the seven wonders of this magnificent trail. Hike information can be found HERE.

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By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

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