Gateway Towns

Hoodsport on Hood Canal near Olympic’s Staircase Entrance

Hoodsport is the gateway to the Staircase Entrance of Olympic National Park and Lake Cushman.

On your way to Olympic National Park, spend some time in Hoodsport, Washington, a quaint town of 850 people located on the Hood Canal southeast of the national park. Not only is Hoodsport a gateway to Olympic National Park’s Staircase Entrance, but it is nearby beautiful Lake Cushman.

Things to Do in Hoodsport

Aside from Hoodsport’s access to land activities, the town’s convenient location on the Hood Canal opens opportunities for kayaking, boating, stand-up paddleboarding and SCUBA diving.

Hoodsport’s SCUBA scene is well-known for its rock formations, pacific octopi, eels, rockfish and anemone. Legend has it that the largest octopus in the world lives in the waters of Hood Canal. YSS Dive in Hoodsport offers dive lessons and charters.

Lake Cushman in Autumn
Lake Cushman in Autumn (Photo: Justin Bailie)

Fifteen miles west, Lake Cushman is a scenic point for hiking, fishing and kayaking on the north fork of the Skokomish River. You’ll find picnic areas along the east shore road and a popular rocky outcrop for jumping into the lake, or at least watch jumpers if you’re squeamish.

Food and Lodging in Hoodsport

Hoodsport Coffee Shop in Hoodsport, Washington
The best ice cream is at Hoodsport Coffee (Photo: Gloria Wadzinski)

Hoodsport is also well known for its small but quaint food and drink industry. The Hardware Distillery Company (www.thehardwaredistillery.com) offers locally distilled spirits made with Washington grown grains, fruit and honey in its tasting room and gift shop. If If you’re more of a wine person, join a tour and tasting at Hoodsport Winery (hoodsport.com). You can also buy local coffees, jams and chocolates here. Several locally owned restaurants are dispersed throughout the town, such as El Puerto de Angeles Mexican restaurant, Hoodsport Coffee Company and Model T Pub and Eatery.

Hoodsport Winery in Hoodsport, Washington
Hoodsport Winery (Photo: Gloria Wadzinski)

Hoodsport offers plenty of lodging including cabins, A-frames, hotels and glamping with waterfront and forest views.

If you love Hollywood kitsch, you’ll want to stay the night twelve miles down the road at the foot of the canal. The Robin Hood Village Resort was built in 1934 by Don Beckman, the movie-set designer who worked on the Robin Hood film starring Errol Flynn. The cottages look like a scene out of the movies with their high-pitched shingle roofs, gables and divided-pane windows. 6780 WA-106, Union, WA 98592; (360) 898-2163; robinhoodvillageresort.com

The History of Hoodsport, Washington

G.K. Robbins, a ship captain for lumber transport, settled in Hoodsport, Wash. in the mid-1800s. The small community grew, as farmers and loggers appreciated the town’s close vicinity to the canal. Manganese miners officially plotted Hoodsport in 1890 in hopes to discover copper in the nearby area. Though the town remains small, the history of Hoodsport continues to live on amongst the lodgepole pines. Robbins’ descendants own the Hamma Hamma Oyster Company in nearby Lilliwaup, which is worth a stop for incredible local seafood.

Hama Hama Oyster Bar on the Hood Canal waterfront
Hama Hama Oyster Bar on the Hood Canal waterfront (Photo: Gloria Wadzinski)

Hoodsport is the Gateway to Olympic National Park Staircase Entrance

The drive from Hoodsport to Olympic National Park’s Staircase Entrance takes about 30 minutes and covers 15 miles. Get on WA 119 and take North Lake Cushman Road towards North Upper Finch Creek Road for just under 15 miles. Then continue on NF-24 for a few hundred feet and follow the signs to Olympic National Park. The North Lake Cushman Road is open year-round, however it is unpaved and periodically closes due to unfavorable weather conditions such as snow. Make sure to check the status of the road before planning your trip by calling (360) 565-3131.

In the national park, the Staircase Rapids Nature Trail is a peaceful place to stroll and find solace in nature. Recognizable for its diverse range of trees, mosses and mushrooms, this two-mile trail is perfect for a scenic getaway.