This trail follows the North Fork Skokomish River north from the Staircase Ranger Station, through a burn area to the Flapjack Lakes Trailhead. The trail climbs the eastern valley wall four miles to two alpine tarns. The lakes lie below Mt. Gladys, Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Cruiser of the Sawtooth Range. This is a moderately difficult trek with a 3,120-foot elevation gain.
Begin this trek at 2,625 feet at the Staircase Trailhead. Follow the North Fork Skokomish Trail as it leads along an abandoned road on the eastern shore of the North Fork Skokomish Trail. The route climbs slightly then descends into the river valley. It crosses Slate Creek one half mile from the trailhead. Shortly beyond this crossing the trail enters a burn area that is recovering from a fire that occurred in 1985. One mile from the trailhead a spur trail leads to the left crossing the river on a bridge and leading to the Staircase Rapids Trail.
Approximately one mile beyond the Staircase Rapids Trail (three and a half miles from the trailhead) the main route reaches a junction. The trail leading right climbs the western slopes of Mt. Lincoln. Turn right at this junction and begin ascending out of the North Fork Skokomish River Valley.
The trail gains approximately 500 feet within the first half mile from the North Fork Skokomish Trail junction. After following a few switchbacks the trail levels slightly and begins a mile and a half traverse northward to Madeline Creek. The tread descends into Madeline Creek and crosses the stream on boulders, continuing northward. Within a half mile of Madeline Creek the trail turns to the east as it parallels Donahue Creek ascending steadily.
The grade is steep as the trail uses switchbacks to climb the western flanks of the Sawtooth Range. The trail climbs approximately 820 feet to a trail junction. The left side of this fork leads to Smith and Black and White Lakes. It can be used as a side hike if you are staying overnight at Flapjack Lakes. Follow the right side of the fork to reach Flapjack Lakes. From this junction it is approximately one half mile to the camping area at the lakes. The trail leads southeastward ascending approximately 500 feet to the lakes. From the lakes the trail continues eastward to the park boundary and a vantage point along the crest of the Sawtooth Range.
Directions: From Eldon, Drive south on Highway 101 to a junction with Forest Road 24, Jorsted Creek Road. Turn right, westward, toward Lake Cushman. Drive 15 miles through private, state and national forest lands to the Staircase Ranger Station within the southeastern boundary of Olympic National Park.
Elevation: 800 feet
Ending Elevation: 3,900 feet
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Olympic National Park, Washington
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