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blue North Fork Skokomish River Trail

Trail

14.7 mile 23.6 kilometer point to point
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 4,140' 1,262 m
Descent: -2,248' -685 m
High: 4,652' 1,418 m
Low: 835' 254 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 38% (21°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Tom Robson

Hike this beautifully lush valley, along the Skokomish River, to First Divide and Duckabush River.

Tom Robson

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Description

From across the Staircase Campground, the North Fork Skokomish River Trail follows the Skokomish River's east wall as it winds north. You'll quickly note that the river is flowing the opposite direction towards Hood Canal, an arm of Puget Sound.

Follow the river along the bottom of the valley as you pass Staircase Rapids, multiple streams, and skirt the southern slopes of Mt. Lincoln (5,772'). Eventually you'll pass Flapjack Lake Trail on your right and work your way closer to the namesake river itself. Be mindful along this section, there are multiple streams to cross.

Pass Black and White Lakes Primitive Trail, then cross the river itself. The trail intersects with Six Ridge Trail directly after this. Continue along the river's western wall for a few more miles until you finally diverge from the river. From here, the hiking gets very difficult - if you were looking for a mellow journey, turn around.

North Fork Skokomish River Trail now heads up the saddle between Mount Duckabush (5,759') and Mount Steel (6,133') to the west, and Mount Hopper (6,099') to the east. Generally hikers will end their journey at the famed First Divide, but the trail continues north, all the way to the Duckabush River Trail. Along the way to First Divide you'll pass the Nine Stream and Two Bear campgrounds. Be sure not to miss the panoramic views from the top!

Flora & Fauna

Enormous trunks reach for the sky, lacy limbs stretch to the sun, grooved bark is sanctuary to tiny creatures in the vast cathedral of Douglas firs that dominate the forests on this side of the Olympic Peninsula. A tree that grows best on bare mineral soil with loads of sunlight, the Douglas fir's survival depends on that most fearsome but respected of forces - fire.

The eastern Olympics experience large-scale natural fires every 300-400 years. Thick bark protects mature trees, so they can survive to produce seeds that repopulate burned areas. Flames burn away organic forest floor debris, giving Douglas fir seeds access to the soil they need. Fire also kills understory plants that may intercept the young sapling's sunlight. Along with death for some forest plants, fire brings life for the system as a whole. In a national park, preserving natural processes like fire is an important goal.

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Check-Ins

Aug 4, 2017
Kyle Veldhuizen
Trail was nice and clear. 18.6mi — 6h 00m
Jun 25, 2017
Jessie Morris
Nice and well maintained trail through the valley along the river. Good campground options along the entirety of the trail.
Mar 2, 2016
Jackie Karazia
5.5mi

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 5 votes

#6777

Overall
  4.2 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#322

in Washington

#6,777

Overall
76 Views Last Month
1,429 Since Feb 19, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

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