North Fork Skokomish River Trail to Spike Camp and Beyond?

Difficulty: moderate

Length: 7.2 - 10 miles

Elevation Gain: 650 ft - 800 ft

Pace: moderate

Location: Staircase Entrance Olympic NP

Dogs: No

Fees: $15 per vehicle or national parks pass.

Drive: 1.15 hrs

No Guests : Everyone needs to be a member

Return Time: I can not guarantee when we will be back. If you have to be back at a certain time you need to not attend or drive your own car.

Please bring Gas money for drivers $10 suggested, and the 10 essentials http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/basics/ten-essentials.

Be prepared for Rain. Bring Rain Gear, extra clothes, hat, gloves and a bag for muddy boots. Cotton is not recommended.

I leave on time. I do not wait. Please arrive 10 min before 9 am. We  will leave at 9.

Disclaimer: We will be in the wilderness. Serious injury or death can occur. I am not a professional guide, by attending this hike you are assuming responsibility for your own personal safety and I can not be held responsible.

Description: I have only hiked to Spike Camp and am interested in what lies beyond. The weather will dictate if we go past Spike Camp. A little rain or snow will not deter us. There will probably be snow on the trail around Spike camp, traction devices are recommended.

Description from WTA:

An easy all-day hike along a roaring wild waterway embraced by coniferous giants, or a very long all-day hike to a pair of subalpine lakes in the shadows of the jagged Sawtooth Range.

The North Fork Skokomish Trail will satisfy your hiking desires whether you amble up it for 1 mile or 10. The first 3.5 miles were once a road. Decommissioned in the early 1970s, it now makes for a wide and well-graded path. The trail follows part of the O'Neil Party's 1890 exploratory route. Several months after the famous Press Expedition, which traversed the Olympic interior from north to south, Lieutenant O'Neil led a group of scientists and soldiers across the Olympics from east to west.

Immediately start with a view up the wild valley. At 0.5 mile cross Slate Creek, fed by a little lake high on Mount Lincoln. Cross a luxuriant bottomland of massive cedars and firs-a few big big-leaf maples too! Cross a small creek and large outwash area, and at 1 mile come to the Staircase Rapids Trail. The bridge has been out for years. If it ever gets replaced, this trail makes a nice loop for children and those short on time.

The main trail continues right, coming within earshot and eyesight of the tumbling North Fork. A few nice riverbank flats can be accessed along the way. At 1.25 miles pass the Slide Camp access, leading to good camp and picnic sites on the river. Proceed past remnants of a 1986 slide and emerge at the edge of a 1985 burn. Thanks to a careless camper, 1400 acres of our old-growth heritage went up in flames. Thankfully, nature forgives, and the area has been nicely recovering.

At 2 miles emerge on a small rise in the burnt-over area, which offers good views of the bowing river. Now climbing gradually, move away from the waterway through a forest of new greenery and resilient giants sporting blackened trunks. At 3.4 miles reach the junction to Flapjack Lakes at Spike Camp (elev. 1450 ft).

Driving Directions:

From Shelton travel north on US 101 for 15 miles to Hoodsport. Turn left (west) onto State Route 119, proceeding 9.3 miles to a T intersection with Forest Road 24. Make a sharp left. In 1.7 miles the pavement ends. Continue on a good gravel road (FR 24) and in 3.7 miles come to a junction. Turn right and drive 1.2 miles to the Staircase Ranger Station. Trailhead parking is on your right, across from the campground. Water and privies available.

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  • Laura

    Lots of snow but no rain and the sun even peeked out.

    February 13, 2013

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