The start of route in Olympic National Forest is at the Staircase Ranger Station Trailhead, near Hoodsport, WA. It follows the trail towards First Divide. Approximately 4 miles in, the trail starts to border the North Fork Skokomish River. The trail passes by 5 Wilderness Camps in the first 12-13 miles before reaching First Divide (Spike Camp, Big Log, Camp Pleasant, Nine Stream, and Two Bear). From the First Divide (Pass), the trail descends approximately 2 miles to the Upper Duckabush Wilderness Camp. At trail intersection, the route turns left in the direction of Marmot Lake (loop is clockwise). From the junction, it climbs approximately 4.6 miles to O'Neill Pass and continues another 7.4 miles up to the junction where it turns right to hit Anderson Pass 3 miles later. After this, there will be another right turn near Camp Siberia to continue on the loop. Next, it ascends up to LaCross Pass and after the descent, makes a final right turn on the loop. From here, about 1.7 miles back is where the loop started near Upper Duckabush Wilderness Camp and heads back up towards First Divide (left turn). Route backtracks to start from First Divide (12-13 miles). Total distance (depending on source) varies between 53.8 miles/13,320 total elevation gain (Garmin) and 54.9 miles/15,566 total elevation gain (Strava).
Very cold and icy conditions. It took us a bit longer than expected due to the time of the year in which we attempted the route. The passes are breathtaking!