- This trail follows the North Fork Skokomish River north from the Staircase Ranger Station, over First Divide and into the Duckabush River drainage. This route leads through lush forests for the first miles then it begins to climb into conifers and old growth forest to subalpine terrain. There are several camps and side trails to use and discover along this route, making it an ideal trail for backpacking.
The North Fork Skokomish Trail begins at an elevation of 2,625 feet following an abandoned road. It climbs slightly then descends into the river valley. The route 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 the main route reaches a junction. The trail leading right climbs the western slopes of Mt. Lincoln. The North Fork Skokomish Trail leaves the river climbing a few hundred feet and reaches the Flapjack Lakes Trail within a mile and a half. The road ends at this point and the river trail leads to the left.
During the next mile the trail descends slightly to the riverside and Madeline Creek. A short distance beyond Madeline Creek is Donahue Creek. The trail crosses Donahue Creek and shortly afterward reaches an intersection. The tread leading to the left reaches Big Log Camp in a few minutes. Hiking right at this junction puts you on the trail to Smith and Black and White Lakes. Following the main trail northward brings you to a crossing of the North Fork Skokomish River. Immediately beyond this crossing is the Six Ridge Trail leading westward.
The North Fork Skokomish River Trail leads northward from this junction along the western bank of the river. Nearly one mile from the ford is Camp Pleasant. This camp lies on the northern end of an area developed for mining in the early 1900s. The Darky Mine lies left of the trail between the Six Ridge Trail and Camp Pleasant. The trail continues to climb upstream from Camp Pleasant and crosses Eight Stream within a mile.
Beyond Eight Stream you'll reach Nine Stream in a mile and a half. On the northern side of this waterway is Nine Stream Camp. The camp lies at an elevation of 2,000 feet approximately nine and a half miles from the trailhead. The trail continues northward with Mt. Duckabush above the river to the left. A stream descending from Mt. Stone joins the river from the east shortly upstream of Nine Stream. The trail begins to climb more steeply from Nine Stream and veers slightly to the west leaving the riverside. Within two miles you'll come upon Two Bear Camp which lies at 3,800 feet.
North of Two Bear Camp the trail continues to climb steadily. It reaches the head of North Fork Skokomish River in a quarter mile and climbs beyond it to North Pass on First Divide. The trail veers to the right and reaches a junction one mile from Two Bear Camp. This trail is not maintained, but leads to Mt. Hopper immediately east of the pass. On First Divide the trail reaches its high point at 4,688 feet.
On the northern side of the divide the trail descends steadily three quarters of a mile to Home Sweet Home Shelter. Beyond this backcountry camping site the track continues to descend switchbacking along the headwaters of Duckabush River. Two miles from Home Sweet Home the trail reaches the Duckabush River Trail and main waterway. At this confluence lies Upper Duckabush Camp at 2,695 feet. The Duckabush River Trail leads east from this camp to the park boundary.