top of page
  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

Staircase Rapids Loop

Updated: Jun 18

A popular and beautiful nature trail in Olympic National Park.

Trail Name: Staircase Rapids Loop

Distance: 2.25 miles

Elevation Range: 774' to 958'

Ascent/Descent: +208 ft/-118 ft

Trail Type: Loop

Trails: Staircase Rapids Nature Trail, Big Cedar Nature Trail, North Fork Skokomish River Trail

Outing Type: Day hike

Permits & Fees: National Park Pass or National Park day pass required to access trailhead.

Note: Staircase is a popular area during the summer months.

Location: Staircase Area, Olympic National Park, Washington, U.S.A.

Date Accessed: September 2, 2023

My whole family drove up to Olympia, Washington, to visit my cousin who was visiting for the weekend. His family and ours all drove to Olympic National Park to go on a hike. I hadn’t been to Olympic National Park since 2014 when I went with my dad on a backpacking trip. 

The road along Lake Cushman was a little unnerving with the number of oblivious drivers, but we made it through alright. We went through the entrance station and were able to find a parking spot in the Staircase Overflow parking. There were a lot of people out trying to enjoy the nice weather like us. 

Big Cedar

The trail was fairly easy, with mild elevation changes. The trail mostly followed along the North Fork Skokomish River. We did take a little side trail, Big Cedar Nature Trail, to a very large fallen tree. It had huge root systems. We continued along the Staircase trail; there were many beautiful places along the river. There were sections where the water looked light blue. We saw multiple large frogs/toads along the trail.

The hike was made even better by good conversation with my cousin. We got to the Skokomish River Suspension Bridge and crossed to the other side of the river and looped by along the North Fork Skokomish River Trail to the parking lot. Along both sides of the trail we had issues with yellow jackets following us. We had two people in our group that were allergic, luckily none of us got stung. The yellow jackets have been bad along trails in Washington and Oregon this summer season, at least for me. 

This trail was a nice walk in the woods, it worked perfectly for a larger family group of varying ages and abilities. 

  • Big Cedar @ 0.22 miles from TH

  • Skokomish River Suspension Bridge @ 0.8 miles from TH

How to get there (from Hoodsport, WA)



My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your safety, any possible injury, or anything that happens if you choose to follow anything on this website. Maps are not intended to be used for navigational purposes, but to give an overview of the route taken. By going outdoors you are solely responsible to know your strengths and limitations, be aware of current conditions and proceed with the appropriate caution. My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your choices and the outcome. Reference my disclaimer for more information on being responsible outdoors.

Recent Posts


bottom of page