Attention hikers, campers, trail runners and backpackers of the Pacific Northwest: The road, the road, the road to Staircase is now open! After being closed for nearly half a year, vehicle access to the Staircase region of Olympic National Park has resumed!
Since November of 2017, Olympic National Park’s Staircase region has been closed to vehicle traffic, thanks to a huge mudslide and washout at the Bear Gulch Picnic Area. For months, those hoping to get into Staircase to explore were required to walk an extra 1.2 miles to reach the trailheads of the region, limiting access for those who weren’t able to make the trek. Now, on May 12, 2018, we are happy to announce that the Staircase Road to the campground and seasonal ranger station, as well as the trailheads, has reopened.
The Staircase region is one of the fastest growing areas in Olympic National Park, as far as visitation is concerned, thanks to numerous stunning day hikes, incredible camping, stunning views and access to the remote backcountry of the SE Olympic Peninsula. Full of towering trees, hidden alpine lakes, craggy summits and raging waters, Staircase is a perfect family-friendly, rugged destination in Olympic National Park.
In the shadow of goat-filled(not much longer), rugged mountains, past the shores of a deep and beautiful tree-lined lake, and through old-growth forests next to the north fork of the Skokomish River, the Staircase area of Olympic National Park is full of endless wilderness experiences, wonder and awe. This is the land of forgotten natural beauty, a corner of the Olympic Peninsula overlooked by the masses, inviting you to explore it this summer, just 90 minutes from downtown Olympia.
The highlight for many at Staircase is the Staircase Loop Trail. At just two miles in length, this trail in Olympic National Park is one of the most underrated family-friendly treks in the national park system. Working your way along the north fork of the Skokomish, seven highlights await you, including a stunning suspension bridge and towering trees along the rapids of the river. Perfect for a dip during the summer months, the river along with the region are a year-round destination of adventure and beauty. The hiking is fun and easy to follow, giving you a wilderness experience close to your car.
Remember to show up early, now that the road is open, to be guaranteed a parking spot.
The Staircase Loop Trail is the closest Olympic National Park trail for residents of Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, taking around an hour and a half for Tac and Oly. For Seattle residents, Staircase is two hours drive, making it the perfect getaway. In less time than it takes to binge watch a few episodes of your favorite show, you could be wandering through the forests of the Skokomish River, having an adventure on one of the most underrated, easy trails in Olympic National Park.
Staircase is more than just the Staircase Loop Trail. It gives access to some of the more remote and jaw-dropping destinations in Olympic National Park, and is yet another example of the diversity and beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. Whether you choose to hike to Home Sweet Home, Gladys Divide, Flapjack Lakes, Black and White Lakes or even traversing the entire park, hiking out of Staircase has you hiking the Staircase Loop Trail. Enjoy this trail. Share this trail. Help clean this trail and keep good etiquette while hiking here and anywhere else with nature. Finally, remember to leave no trace. This includes cairns.
For those looking for even more on the Staircase region, including the best hikes and the history of the region, we can’t recommend The Outdoor Society’s 52 Hikes Guidebook enough, as it has some of the lesser known and breathtakingly beautiful day hikes in the region. Link below.
Thanks to Teddi for the picture!
Discover a Hike a Week through our Olympic National Park Area Guidebook