Visit The Pacific Northwest For A Picturesque Weekend Getaway At This Mountainous Lake

The Pacific Northwest is stunning. Mountains, pine forests, and lovely lakes abound, and if you're outdoorsy, we have just the spot for you to appreciate all its natural beauty. Lake Cushman, on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, covers 4,000 surface acres and borders Olympic National Park. It's a two-hour drive from most of Seattle's overlooked attractions, consisting of cold water and perfect views. You can swim, kayak, paddleboard, fish, picnic, and camp here, and it's so beautiful you won't want to leave. 

While some of the lakes are on private land, you can often pay a day or campground fee to stay and play. There are two great camping areas at Big Creek Campground and Skokomish Park, as well as several trails for hiking at all levels and swimming spots. This is a very popular area for leisure activities, and there are a few things you need to know before you go. Welcome to Lake Cushman, Washington! 

Hiking and watersports at Lake Cushman

The area around Lake Cushman is full of great hiking trails. One that is very popular is the 2.1-mile Staircase Loop Nature Trail on the northern end of the lake. You'll need a Recreation Pass or pay a $25 fee as it crosses into Olympic National Park. You'll also have access to other trails from here. You'll pass a few spots by the river that are perfect for swimming and cooling off. You'll also cross over the pretty extension bridge in the picture above. If you don't cross the bridge, you can access the Four Stream Trail, which is 7.1 miles long. 

Another one is the 3.1-mile Mt. Ellinor Trail, which takes you through the forest to the timberline. If you're looking for beautiful views, this is the one to take. You'll see Lake Cushman and Puget Sound from here. This is another popular trail with a vault toilet at the upper trailhead. (You'll need a Recreation Pass for this hike.) This trail starts fairly easy on the lower side, but once you hit the timberline, it gets steep and splits off into the winter trail on the right and the summer trail on the left. This is for your safety and the health of the environment. Mountain goats are on this trail, and you should stay far away from them. As silly as it sounds, don't urinate on the trail; they're attracted to the salt, and ensure to pack the safest hiking gear!

Camping around Lake Cushman

There are several camping areas around Lake Cushman. The Big Creek Campground, next to the creek of the same name, is open from May through September and is very popular. It operates on a first-come, first-served basis and has 64 tents, trailers, and RV sites in total, as well as three picnic shelters. It's near the Staircase Trail and the Mt. Ellinor Trail as well. This one doesn't have water, sewer, or electricity hookups, and you cannot reserve them in advance. This is probably a better option for the middle of the week. Though the lake is close, the sites are set back a bit. It's $20 a night and $5 for additional vehicles. 

Another option is Skokomish Park, which has 31 standard sites (starting at $48 per night) with a fire pit, parking for two vehicles, and a picnic table. There are 30 RV sites (from $53 per night) with power hookups, water, and a sewer dump. You can come in for day use as well. Both areas have bathrooms with showers and water. The season runs from April through the beginning of November. The park is over 500 acres and has three boat launches into the lake. It's also near several hiking trails, including Mt. Ellinor. You can reserve your spot at Skokomish Park, rent a watercraft, or enjoy water-related lessons. Prepare for your time at Lake Cushman by learning to avoid dangers while camping.