Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sol Duc Falls, Olympic NP, 7/04/2016

Our last visit into Olympic National Park before leaving the area was to the Sol Duc Valley. We wanted to hike the trail to see the cascading Sol Duc Falls. Sol Duc Road is a left turn off of Highway 101 a short distance from the western end of Lake Crescent.  

We stopped at the Salmon Cascades viewpoint on our way to the trailhead. We walked a short distance to the Sol Duc River where chinook and coho salmon can be seen swimming upstream in late summer to spawn in late fall. Although all of the salmon that return were born here, they spend most of their lives in the Pacific Ocean.

Cutthroat trout and steelhead also run the Sol Duc River in the fall and spawn in the spring. We would love to witness this first day.

Continuing south on Sol Duc Road, we made a quick stop at the Eagle Ranger Station. No one was there, but park information and a one-page guide to the Sol Duc Area was available for visitors. It provided the information we were looking for about the Sol Duc Falls and surrounding trails. 

The parking area for the Sol Duc Trailhead is a short distance south of the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. (We did not drive into the resort or campground area as it was a holiday weekend and there was a lot of traffic.) There is a trail,  though, from the resort that connects to the trailhead at the parking lot. From this point the trail is .8 mile each way through an old growth forest.

A shelter, built by the Cilvilian Conservation Corps),is located along the trail for weary hikers and cover in foul weather (as other trails connect to this one).

The wooden foot bridge over the Sol Duc River provides the best view of the Falls and downstream from them. 

The path continues on the opposite river bank providing a more close-up look at the 60' falls. 

The trail continued through the forest to backcountry camping sites along the river. As always, there are some crazy tree formations in these forests! 

This was a beautiful hike although it is not dog-friendly. None of the trails in the Sol Duc area permit pets or bicycles. We would have spent more time here if Sadie could have been with us. 

This valley is well-known for its [sulphur-smelling] mineral hot springs. The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (prices start at $189/night) has cabins, an RV park (we did not stay there), swimming pool (fresh/cold water), hot mineral pools, restaurant and shop. Those who stay there have access to the mineral pools and other amenities; day guest enjoy the pools for $14/day. The adjacent Sol Duc Campground has 82 tent sites. You can easily find more information about them both on line at

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