Skate Creek Road (PDF) is the USFS road which connects highway 12, in the southeast area outside the NP, to highway 706, the road to the Nisqually entrance and to Longmire and Paradise. The road runs south of the southern NP boundary as described by the USFS:
Forest Road 52, also known as Skate Creek Road, travels east to west, between Packwood and Elbe. FR 52 is a paved road that has had low maintenance for a number of years. Please watch your speed. There are a number of slumps and potholes in the road.
FR 52 travels through low elevation forest following beautiful Skate Creek. The forest contains evergreen and deciduous trees. And offers beautiful fall colors and plenty of cooler temperatures in the summer. The area offers several dispersed camping sites and fishing in the creek.
In the winter months, FR52 is often gated closed when the snow gets too deep to drive safely.
You can get the latest information from the USFS Website on the status of the road. It usually closes in mid-December to reopen later in the spring.