Located on the southwest border of Washington's Olympic National Park, Lake Cushman formed in a deep glacial claw-mark carved out along the Skokomish River. The 4,000-acre lake, which has both cabins as well as RV and tent camping sites available, is a perfect entryway to the national park.
Lake Cushman is within driving distance from Seattle and Tacoma, Washington (just a little over two hours from Seattle, and an hour and 45 minutes from Tacoma). Travelers can also drive from Portland, which is closer to three hours by car.
Related: A Perfect Weekend on Lake Okeechobee
Things to Do at Lake Cushman
Visitors can pick up multiple trails at Lake Cushman. Some lead up Mount Rose and Mount Ellinor, while others trace Copper Creek canyon. From Mount Ellinor, travelers can head into the Mount Skokomish Wilderness, where hikers can enjoy the views of Lake Cushman and even the Puget Sound from colorful wildflower meadows above the timberline. (Watch out for the area's aggressive mountain goats, however.)
Northwest Forest Passes are required for hikers who want to tackle the more challenging upper trailhead, but none are needed for the more gradual lower trailhead. Outdoorsy travelers can also take the North Fork Skokomish River Trail into the heart of Olympic National Park, along lowland forest river valleys and subalpine meadows.
For weekenders more interested in relaxing, there’s plenty to do without ever leaving the lake. With clear blue waters surrounded by dramatic stands of trees,
Cushman Lake is a particularly picturesque place to go for a dip on a particularly hot day. Vacationers can also boat (canoe and kayaks are available to rent), water ski, fish, and even scuba dive. Meanwhile, anglers cast for the bass, trout, and salmon that swim in the lake.
There’s also golf and disk golf just a few miles down the road.
Where to Stay
Lake Cushman Resort, which has cabins and campsites available for rent, stocks a small convenience store that offers snacks, groceries, ice cream, sodas, beer, and wine, as well as firewood, ice, and supplies for fishing, camping, hiking, and swimming. They also maintain public restrooms and coin-operated showers. In the town of Hoodsport, just five miles down Route 119, there are fully stocked grocery stores and restaurants within reach.