Staircase Rapids Nature Trail

Olympic National Park, Washington

Elevation Gain272ft
Trailhead Elevation770ft
Elevation Min/Max770/923ft
Elevation Start/End770/770ft

Staircase Rapids Nature Trail

Staircase Rapids Nature Trail is a hiking trail in Mason County, Washington. It is within Olympic National Park. It is 0.9 miles long and begins at 770 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 272 feet. The Staircase Day Use Parking is near the trailhead. There are also restrooms. This trail connects with the following: Shady Lane Trail, Staircase Hydro Nature Trail, North Fork Skokomish River Trail, Four Stream Trail and Big Cedar Nature Trail.

Staircase Rapids Nature Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula - 2nd Edition (The Mountaineers Books)
Craig Romano
View more trails from this guide book
"Stand in awe watching the swift-moving waters of the North Fork Skokomish River barrel and thunder over a series of cascades. A great hike anytime of year, Staircase Rapids is especially impressive during the spring runoff. Hikers of all ages will be delighted on this easy and captivating hike. The main trail gently climbs, soon coming to the riverbank. March alongside the frothy river, passing big boulders and a series of roaring rapids. National park entrance fee. Dogs prohibited. Staircase access road closed in winter—park at picnic area and hike 1 mile up road or hike 0.8 mile on Shady Lane Trail." Read more
Top Trails: Olympic National Park and Vicinity (Wilderness Press)
Douglas Lorain
View more trails from this guide book
"The brawny North Fork Skokomish River churns through a deep canyon in the southeastern corner of Olympic National Park. Just beyond the end of the road, the river tumbles over a series of boisterous rapids and small waterfalls that are easily viewed on a short and mostly level path right along the river’s banks. Add in a beautiful and lush forest and you have a hike that is both scenic and easy enough to be fun for everyone. Because long-distance views are not an attraction here, this is an ideal choice for a bit of exercise on a rainy or cloudy day." Read more
Hiking through History Washington (Falcon Guides)
Nathan and Jeremy Barnes
View more trails from this guide book
"Explore a short 2.0-mile loop following portions of the route taken by the O’Neil Expedition. This truly is a hike for all seasons. Accessible all year, this loop works for a quick snowshoe or a short summer hike. Because the distance and elevation are fairly minimal, the hike is ideal for young hikers and first-time snowshoers. This is also a very popular hike, with many trails linking to other nearby destinations, so expect a little company as you head out to Staircase. There’s less traffic in the winter, so if you’re looking for an introductory snowshoe, Staircase Rapids is a good bet. If you’re looking for a little more hike, you can continue onward past the bridge for another mile to Beaver Flats, a wide expanse that offers views of Mount Lincoln and the lingering traces of the 1985 Beaver Fire, which was accidentally set by campers in the area." Read more
Best Easy Day Hikes Olympic National Park (Falcon Guides)
Erik Molvar
View more trails from this guide book
"A popular footpath follows the south bank of the Skokomish River’s North Fork, passing foaming whitewater and deep pools on the river. A suspension bridge spans the river at mile 1, linking it to the North Fork Skokomish Trail for a pleasant loop trip. This is a great hike for folks who wish to view old-growth trees as well as the crystalline pools and rushing rapids on one of the major rivers of the Olympic Peninsula. The hike begins near the Staircase Ranger Station, just across the bridge at the edge of an open meadow. The well-beaten trail parallels the river as it moves upward through the conifers and vine maples. Early in the hike, a spur path accesses a western red cedar that is more than 14 feet in diameter." Read more

Staircase Rapids Nature Trail Reviews

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon2 Total
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
Very informative staff at entry and very clean trails. Lots of families, fun places to jump off trail to view the river closer. Great hike for photos. Backwoods camping available.
3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
Very easy trail that just about anyone can do. Saw some Roosevelt Elk on the way back out. The road was closed about a mile or so down from the Ranger Station when we went. It was set to open 5/14.

Staircase Rapids Nature Trail Photos

Trail Information

Olympic National Park
Nearby City
Olympic National Park
Skill Level
Additional Use
USGS Mount Skokomish; Custom Correct Mount Skokomish–Lake Cushman
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018