Enchanted Valley


Backpack - Lake LaCrosse—O'Neil Pass

Start at Duckabush and hike to the lakes of the LaCross Basin- explore O'Neil Pass and hike out via Staircase. Pass through the old forest to the high Marmot Lake Group Camp.

  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 44.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 14,426 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 4,685 ft
  • Pace: 2 mph

Meet at Staircase Ranger Station to leave cars and Shuttle to Duckabush Trailhead. Meet to shuttle at 9:30am and aim to start hiking by 11am from Duckabush Trailhead. Each car will need a National Parks Pass.

From Hoodsport, just off of Highway 101, turn left onto Highway 119. Drive a little more than 9 miles where 119 ‘T’s with FR 24. Turn left here. Drive 1.7 miles to where the pavement ends. The road continues as gravel. In 3.7 miles, arrive at a junction. Make a right here, and continue 1.2 miles to the Staircase Ranger Station. Look for the parking lot on your right, across from the campground.

*Leaders Permission Required*. I will be looking for participants who have had or will have backpacking experience with trips 10+ miles and can maintain a 2 mph pace. I will also be looking for participants who are committed to the trip if accepted as this trip requires me adding your name to the permit and getting reimbursed for permit cost and be willing to shuttle ($25 for three nights). It is important to me to have participants who enjoy hiking in a group and have patience for others on the trip. 

** NOTE ** Sign up will be first-come-first-serve, you're welcome to request permission in advance but you will have to register when registration opens.  There won't be any advance registration.

We will hike at a moderate 2 mph pace, taking frequent breaks. We will stop for an extended lunch (~20 minutes). We will shuttle cars Saturday morning between Staircase and Duckabush trailheads aiming to begin hiking by 11am. On Saturday we will hike to Ten Mile camp, aiming to arrive at camp by 5pm.

On Sunday we will hike 10 miles to Marmot Lake with the steepest section gaining 1500 feet in the last three miles where I have a group camp reserved. We will aim to leave camp between 8-8:30am so that we will have plenty of time to explore the Lake Basin. We will set up camp by about 3pm and potentially hike another 5 miles to explore and swim at Hart Lake and Lake LaCross and return to camp by 6pm.

On Monday we will have an optional 2.5 mile trip up to O'Neil Pass and back gaining 675 feet in the 1.2 miles up. We will break camp by 10am and hike 8 miles to Nine Stream Camp gaining 1700 feet in two miles to get up First Divide and aim to arrive at camp by 3pm. 

On Tuesday we will break camp by 8am and hike the remaining 9 miles down to the staircase trailhead by 1pm. We will shuttle back to Duckabush to pick up cars by 2:30pm.

There should be bear wires at all camps. There are two fords of the Duckabush River and one ford of the North Fork Skokomish river on this route. 


Enchanted Valley

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  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Ursack or Bear canister- will confirm with the ranger
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Would recommend hiking poles for stability and water shoes for river fords.
Trip Reports