The Olympian, the less than stellar newspaper in Olympia, recently claimed, correctly, that the Staircase area of the Olympic National Park is the most oft-forgotten part of the region. So near to Olympia and the hustle and bustle of the I-5 corridor, tucked along the Hood Canal and the upper Skokomish River, Staircase is more than often overlooked for the sexiness of Hurricane Ridge, the romance of the rainforest and the teasing, visual eye-candy tof the beaches of Kalaloch and LaPush. Staircase isn’t the Elwha or Quinault Rivers, and that is a good thing.
Devil’s Staircase, named so because of the rapids near impossibility to be navigated, has since been renamed Staircase. While I am pretty sure this was only done so for Public Relations reasons, the area is far from devilish; in fact it just may become your new slice of heaven on earth.
The Staircase area hasn’t always been so amazing. In the mid-1990s, the Skokomish River experienced severe flooding and washed away a bridge that allowed for an amazingly fun, family friendly, yet wild loop hike. Up until recently, it was an out and back hike, leaving visitors with a feeling of disappointment, as the loop was no longer functional. This has changed though! In the winter of 2012-13, the National Park service somehow came up with the funding to build a new bridge. The old bridge was nice, scenic and complimented the surround area nicely, but the new bridge is completely amazing. Built like a miniature Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the new cable bridge sits high above the Upper Skokomish River, offering a one of a kind view of the intense rapids that were so difficult for the O’Neil party to transport supplies back in the 1890s.
Wide, tall and well built, the new bridge for the Staircase Loop trail is the added piece that was needed to make Staircase a must see destination. Without the loop being complete, Staircase was a nice place to visit. With the bridge, beautifully complementing the deep browns and greens of the trees and ferns of the Olympic Peninsula, the loop is now a destination that is sure to please the entire family. You need to come out to Staircase right now, and what better way to start new memories of a hidden area than with Exotic Hikes.
Staircase Loop Trail Details:
- Miles: 4.0
- Family Friendly: Yes
- Stroller Friendly: No
- Dog Friendly: No
- Bathrooms: At the Parking lot and in the Campground
- Camping: 50 sites along the Skokomish River
- Click name for Links to Area Hikes: Mount Ellinor, Mount Rose, Flap Jack Lake, Wagon Wheel Lake.
- Previous Post on Staircase: http://exotichikes.com/staircase-step-up-into-the-olympic-national-park/ or for winter conditions http://exotichikes.com/lake-cushman-state-park-aka-camp-cushman-and-recreation-park/
- Directions: http://goo.gl/maps/DtVMr
Exotic Hikes: @Exotichikes on Twitter
March 9th, 2013 Trip Report
BONUS: The First Panorama of the New Bridge at Staircase!!