North Fork Skokomish River Trail is a 23.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lilliwaup, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until October.

Length23.5 miElevation gain5,167 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingHikingForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeFeeNo dogs
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Getting There

Olympic National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are per vehicle or per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot or bike the fee is per person. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass. Please visit the park website for current rate information.

A National Parks Pass is required to park here

Olympic National Forest Hoodsport Ranger Station 150 NorthLake Cushman Road Hoodsport, WA 98548 Tel: 360.877.5254

From Hoodsport, west 9 miles on Lake Cushman Road to Forest Service Road 24. Turn left and drive 6.5 miles to Staircase Ranger Station and the trailhead. $25 fee per car to enter. The service road leading to the trailhead may be closed.

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Reviews (83)
Photos (373)
Activities (74)
Completed (209)
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Lori Frenzel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 27, 2021

Did an overnight starting at the trailhead by the Staircase ranger station 3/25/21. The trail is mostly a very slow but steady uphill, well-maintained but muddy in several spots. I made it about 5 miles in, with snow on the trail starting just before mile 4 and getting deeper quickly. Realizing I would be snow camping if I continued, I turned around and hiked back down to Spike Camp and found a nice campsite with the area all to myself. Woke up the next morning to a herd of elk grazing about 30 feet from my tent. The area is very shaded by tree cover, and although it had been nearly 60 degrees this day, it was cooler in the forest and got much colder than I expected overnight. Not many people at all, although driving out on Friday there were lots of people headed in for the weekend. A few miles of road leading to the park entrance was pretty bad, lots and lots of potholes.

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Nature Buff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 23, 2021
Hiking
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Gina Smith
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Hiking
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michael barto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 19, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful, flat, easy trail.

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Rob & Alicia Exploring
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarDecember 12, 2020
Hiking
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Cory Haven
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 29, 2020
Hiking
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Nathan Rees
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 17, 2020
HikingSnow

I hiked in heavy rain all day, amidst the cold. I only hiked to about 0.3 miles past camp Big Log where I would have had to ford a river, and then back out the same route. Beware: the water level is getting high and places may be impassable. In just 1 hour of hiking, I noticed a stream significantly increase in flow. The trail was nice and I ran into snow only about 3 miles in which surprised me. The altitude gain is very minimal and there is easy water access at many points. The forest is lovely, especially the farther in you go.

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Jenny Van Aken
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 6, 2020
Hiking

This is a beautiful hike! We went to Madeline creek, about 9.7 miles round trip. It follows the river at the beginning (we started the Staircase loop on the lower trail head by the overflow parking then crossed the large bridge and continued on the North Fork trail) then gradually climbs above it for about four miles. We stopped for lunch at the bridge crossing Madeline Creek then turned around and finished at the upper trail head by the larger parking lot.

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Ashley Turner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 21, 2020
BackpackingBlowdownBugsMuddy

This was such a lovely hike! I would rate it as Moderate instead of Difficult. My dad (71 yrs) and I (33 yrs) backpacked this one in three days. We hiked to Camp Pleasant on the first day and made that our home base, then day hiked up the mountain and back down to Camp Pleasant on day two. On day three we made our descent. We hiked in on a Tuesday and out on a Thursday and Camp Pleasant was packed to the brim. The campgrounds were in great shape, but the bear wires were down at all of them, so we were really thankful that we brought a bear vault. Most of the other campers we encountered didn’t have canisters with them. Elevation gain is very gradual (almost flat) until you get past Nine Stream campgrounds, at which point it gets quite a bit steeper. There’s fantastic river/stream access at various points along the hike which made planning water consumption super easy. We took the detour to four stream trail for the last 1.5 miles so we could experience the beautiful new suspension bridge, and it was well worth it! Lots of mosquitoes, black flies, and deer flies so bring good bug spray and a head net!

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Shelby Bautista
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
BackpackingBugsGreat!Rocky

Lovely trail! This was my first backpacking trip. Did it in four days, three nights. Hiked up to Camp Pleasant day one. Good warmup to prepare for the next day, which had the majority of elevation gain. Hiked up to First Divide, then camped down at Home Sweet Home night two. BEAUTIFUL spot to camp. Hiked back out to Spike Camp night three, then the remaining three miles out in the morning. The climb to First Divide was definitely hard, but doable. The black flies were ATROCIOUS - a fellow hiker describes it as a “biblical plague” haha. So just maybe bring a mosquito net, as bug spray didn’t seem to help.

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Abhi Doddapaneni
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 7, 2020
HikingBugsOver grown

We camped at big log camp and hiked this trail over three days and it was fun. Lot of bugs, carry bug spray

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Brandon Scott
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 20, 2020
HikingMuddy

Traveled up to Spike Camp and back yesterday. Little bit of mud on the trails as expected, along with some blowdown. Right before getting to Spike Camp snow begins to show up on the trail and becomes consistent after camp.

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Michael Buchanan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 4, 2019
Hiking

This is a great trail to challenge your ability to put down the miles, a total of nearly 27. The first 10 miles were relatively flat and the 3.5 miles to the First Divide was a not too steep. Overall a great trail but, I probably will not do it again as a day hike. That being said, the Olympics are so beautiful, especially on this fall day.

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Matt Duce
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2019
Hiking

Spent first night at Two bear camp where the black flies got pretty bad so we took a little late afternoon nap in the safety of our tent. A couple hours later, the bugs went to sleep and we enjoyed our first evening under a ton of stars. Next day we hiked to the top of the first divide and continued down to Duck a Bush camp. This camp was awesome and is on the Duck a Bush river. Great spot to swim and pump water. We used this as a base camp for the rest of our hike which turned out to be a great move considering the amount of trees down heading up to heart lake. It was much easier to navigate the fallen frees with just a day pack on

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Ian Frost
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2019
Hiking

Decided to challenge myself and attempt to make it up to First Divide and back down to the staircase parking lot all in one day. Stepped on the trail at 5:30 and reached First Divide at 10:45. The trail on here takes you within about 1000ft of First Divide so when the AllTrails trail ends, keep going! Really relaxing trail! 28 total miles.

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Tracy Finch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 17, 2019
BackpackingBugs

Trail is in great shape as usual. I decided to do an overnight trip the night before. I packed up and hit the trail around 10:30. There weren’t many cars in the newly paved lot. Ran into a couple day-hike groups coming back and one tandem of guys who had stayed at 9 stream. The weather was nice but a bit muggy for my liking. I did not really have a spot I was aiming for. I just wanted to hike and figured I’d stop when I wanted. That spot turned out to be Camp Pleasant about 7 miles in. This camp has a privy and working bear wires. I got there around 12:45 and set up camp. Went down to the river to filter some water and soak my legs. The water is cold but felt therapeutic to my out-of-hiking-shape feet. The site had a couple other campers but I found a secluded spot and just relaxed the rest of the day. Not one person came by the whole time I was there. The mosquitos started getting bad around 6 until a brief rain shower granted reprieve. I made dinner and eventually had to retreat back to the tent to escape the bugs. The hike out in the morning was wet but the rain felt refreshing. All-in-all and great short trip!

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Jimmy Haitch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2019
CampingBlowdownBugs

We hiked from the Staircase Ranger Station up to First Divide and down to the Home Sweet Home camp. No one else at the camp, sky full of stars, deer in the meadow, cold fresh creek, it was absolutely spectacular. About 16 miles each way. Lots of trees across the trail, it looked they haven't cleared the trees away in several years. Nettles in abundance, thank goodness I wore long trousers. Flowers everywhere, such an amazing overnight hike.

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Elyse Manns
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 1, 2019
Backpacking

The service road to the trail head is closed. Take the "bumpy" dirt road/bridge, go up a road about half a mile to the Shady Lane trail head.its about 2.6 miles to the Staircase loop Trail head. but you'll take a right over the big bridge towards the ranger Station. once there, you'll see a sign that says "trail heads" about.2 mi. up to the North Fork Skokomish TH. you can take the Staircase TH as well, do half the loop and take the rapids loop trail to a bridge. you'll see a sign for the same ranger Station to the right and NFS trail to the left. we accidentally took the staircase trail to 4 streams thinking it was apart of North Fork. we were wrong but it was a happy accident, as we enjoyed a night by the river. the next morning we hiked back to the rapids loop trail and headed to Camp Pleasant which was about 6.5 miles in. there are more camps sites at mile 3.4 or 4 near a privy. Beautiful trip!!

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Lee Edgemon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2018
Backpacking

This was my first solo overnight backpacking. Started at Staircase early and went to Two Bear Camp first night. The second day I went to Upper Duckabush for a lunch break then back tracked to Home Sweet Home Camp, which I'm thinking could be renamed "Screaming Elk Meadow" given the two bull elk I listened to all night. I also experienced my first bear sighting in the Olympic National Park. The third day I chose to hike all the way out just to see if I could. My feet tell me I shouldn't have. Per Garmin I logged over 34 miles. There were still plenty of huckleberries and blue berries available and I ate my share. Plenty of water available and several good camp areas. The trail is mostly easy to Nine Stream then becomes challenging as in rapid elevation gains plus some rocky trail sections. There are a couple of stream crossing that will be difficult during the rainy season but were fairly easy on this trip. I liked this trail for the challenges and for the scenery along the way.

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Jehan Alvani
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 31, 2018
Backpacking

North for Skokomish, Home Sweet Home, Marmot Lake, Hart Lake. Attempted Ranger Pass but the descent was too dangerous. Retreated to Hart Pass to O’Neill Pass Trail, then on to Duckabush River, Home Sweet Home and back down the North Fork Skokomish. Camped at Nine Stream, Hart Lake, Camp Siberia, and Home Sweet Home. I’ll update the description (If I can) with a link to my more-detailed write up. Worthwhile trip, but modify.

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Haley Hart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2018
Backpacking

The North Fork Skokomish River Trail was my first overnight backpacking trip. We spent 3 days and 2 nights. Our first night was at Home Sweet Home. Getting there the first ten miles are flat and very well maintained. We had lunch at Nine Streams camp. Nine Streams is a wonderfully maintained camp and the last place to camp where you can have an open fire. (in a fire ring, of course.) The next 4-5 miles of trail are straight up. Just after Nine Streams, up the river there is no bridge, but a decent place to rock hop just across the trail on the opposite side. The switch backs in the beginning of this section of the trail remind me of Wagon Wheel trail, located in the same park. There is some meadow crossing, with beautiful flowers and butterflies. Watch the trail in spots. The flora easily covers drops offs on the sides of the trail and completely covers t in spots. There are a couple of blow downs that are easily scrambled over or under. One you can walk around. On the way up we passed Two Bear camp. This camp is a great place for a break and it looked like it had a decent amount of spots with great access to water. Home Sweet Home was gorgeous Located in an expansive valley nestled between mountain peaks. Some snow obstructs the trail, but is easily walked around. There is a toilet and a bear wire. We found one of the bear wires to be tangled in itself and useless. The ranger was notified before we left. Hopefully it is fixed soon. A trail leads down to a creak where there is water access withing a couple hundred paces from camp. The valley this camp is in is very marshy which means mosquito chased us into our tents early. The trek back was similar to the hike up. We stayed at Big Log Camp on night 2. The trail down to the camp is steep. Keep in mind what you climb down you have to climb up! The camp was well maintained. We ran into a couple rangers here providing some of that maintenance. Privy was in good order. Multiple tent camp sites and fire rings. Bear wires were in good repair with a nice log below to stuff a bear canister. Easy water access.

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Mark Davies
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 15, 2018
Backpacking

I have hiked this trail starting at the Duckabush trail head and linking to this trail then out. Also I have solo hiked this trail and linked to Duckabush and in to Marmot lake, then out on the Dosewallup trail and out. This is a well maintained trail that starts along side the Skokomish River and meanders past a number of good camps. Camp Pleasent is well named and is large with ez access to water and only 7 miles in. Nine stream camp is 10 miles in and very good as well. At that point the trail climbs steadily. At 11.5 there is a good lunch camp called two Bears and has a small stream flowing directly thru the camp. The trail at 13 miles tops a ridge and you look down into a sub alpine meadow that forms a bowl and is home to a beauty of a place called Home Sweet Home. Here I have seen a Black Bear in the early morning as well as a herd of elk 70 to 80 strong! There is a small copse of trees in the camp that I have pitched my tent in and after a furociuos storm awoke in the morning to a dry tent.Continuing on the trail drops you down to the intersection of the Duckabush trail where you can continue out to the Duck trail head or travel further into the Olympics. For traveling further into the Olympics I recomend the Skokomish trail above the Duck as it has much more to offer.

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Adam Hesseltine
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2017
Backpacking

Great trail with beautiful views of mountains, waterfalls and wildlife. Be aware that there are rolling hills for about 8 miles, and then you climb a fairly easy ascent with switchbacks. Worth the trip, but nothing too difficult.

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Elise Jacobson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 20, 2017
Backpacking

I've done this trail a couple of times and totally love it. Nice and cool in the summer with constant access to the river. Pretty flat up until Nine Stream, but there's snow past there up until July.

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