Day Hike - Upper South Fork Skokomish River


Day Hike - Upper South Fork Skokomish River

Walk amid some of the largest and oldest trees on the Olympic Peninsula alongside the South Fork of the Skokomish River as it tumbles down from Sunset Pass. We plan to hike 5.2 miles r/t, turning around at a stream crossing.

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 5.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 500 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 1,600 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 mph moving.

Participants can carpool, meeting at 8:45 am at Haggen's, West Olympia, or , if coming from the north, at the fish hatchery parking lot on Skokomish Valley Road near US 101.  Driving distance is about 25 miles from Haggens to the fish hatchery, and another 25 miles from there to the end of Forest Road 2361.  Details will be emailed to registered participants a few days before hike.   No parking pass or  day  use fee is required at this trailhead.  For info on good carpooling practices and how to contact other participants for carpooling, please see this Mountaineers article on "Carpooling and Mountaineers Activities/Courses":

Our trailhead is at 1,100' elevation at the end of Forest Road 2361, and the trail starts out on the discontinued portion of the road. It quickly becomes a trail on a narrow shelf overlooking the South Fork of the Skokomish River. Until October of 2022, this trail was obstructed by huge fallen Douglas fir and cedar trees, but was re-opened by the trail crew of the Back Country Horsemen of Washington.   The photo on the trip listing page is an "after" picture from that work.   The WTA's Backcountry Response Team did more work in July 2023, and the Back Country Horsemen of Washington have scheduled this trail for a log-out the weekend preceeding this hike. 

We will have one crossing of the Skokomish on a large fallen cedar at 1,400', and numerous small feeders, mostly rock hops. Some wet crossings are likely in early June. At 2.6 miles and 1,600', we will come to a ford of the Skokomish, which is our intended turn-around point. We plan to have lunch at this spot. We will agree upon and observe a turn-around time.  We should be back at Haggens  by 4:00 pm.

When the leader was here in October 2022, on the first two miles the tread on this trail was mostly in pretty good shape. It was designed to be passable by horses and pack mules, so the grades are not terribly steep, although it passes through some very rugged country.  In May of 2024, about three miles of Forest Road 23 and much of 2361 were badly potholed.  Even with an SUV or pickup truck, careful driving and cautious speed are needed.


Upper South Fork Skokomish River

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  • Navigation
  • Headlamp
  • Sun protection
  • First aid
  • Knife
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Extra clothes
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