Location: Staircase, Olympic National Park
Land Agency: National Park Service
Roundtrip: 15.4 miles
Elevation gain: 3,050 feet
Contact: Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (360) 565-3100
Green Trails Map: Olympic Mountains East 168S
Access: From Shelton, travel north on US 101 for 15 miles to Hoodsport. Turn left onto SR 119 proceeding 9.3 miles to a T-intersection. Turn left continuing on SR 119 until it ends in 1.7 miles; then continue on a gravel road. In 3.7 miles bear right continuing 1.2 miles to the Staircase Ranger Station and trailhead.
Good to Know: Backpacking opportunities, kid-friendly, Olympic National Park
Sure, it’s a long hike to the Flapjack Lakes, but most of the way is on an easy grade—and if the distance is just a tad too long, a few miles strolling along the North Fork of the Skokomish River should satisfy.
Start your hike on the North Fork Skokomish Trail. The first 3.6 miles were once a road that was slated to cross the Olympics. Decommissioned in the early 1970s, it now makes for a wide and well-graded path. Cross Slate Creek, coming down from a little lake high on Mount Lincoln. Traverse a luxuriant bottomland of massive cedars, firs, and moss-draped maples. Pass the Staircase Rapids Loop Trail (a great kid-friendly short hike).
Continue right passing Slide Camp before traversing the 1985 Beaver Fire caused by an illegal campfire set during a drought. At 3.6 miles reach the junction to the Flapjack Lakes just before Spike Camp. Head right and start climbing out of the valley. After a few switchbacks, the trail turns north skirting a slope, gradually gaining elevation. Cross Madeline Creek on a sturdy bridge and then work your way up the ravine housing Donahue Creek. The way now considerably steeper, parallels the cascading creek.
Continue right at a junction with the Black and White Lakes Trail. And after another round of steep (albeit shorter in distance) climbing come to the two Flapjack Lakes ringed by subalpine forest and framed by the rugged spires of the Sawtooth Range. A nice trail circles the lower lake where excellent views of Mount Lincoln and the Sawtooths can be enjoyed. Good camping too if you are planning on staying awhile.
For more detailed information (including maps) on this hike and 124 others in the area, check out my Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula (Mountaineers Books): the Number One Selling Book on hiking in the Olympics.
For information on where to stay and other things to do in the area, consult Northwest TripFinder