Visit the most popular waterfall in the Olympic National Park.
Sol Duc Falls is in the northwest of the Olympic National Park in Washington State, a 1 hour drive from Port Angeles.
The hike to Sol Duc Falls takes about 20 minutes, and passes through lush, temperate rainforest, along a footbridge over a spring fed stream, past a log cabin, then ends at a viewing platform overlooking the dramatic falls. Visitors can peer into the deep canyon on the Sol Duc River to get a close glimpse of these falls.
Road conditions: Always check road conditions to see if Sol Duc Road is open, because closures are common after storms.
Entrance Fee: An entrance fee is required to enter the Olympic National Park.
Directions: Sol Duc Falls is located off Highway 101, the main highway around the Olympic National Park. Take the clearly marked exit to Sol Duc off Highway 101. It's then an easy 40 minute drive to the Sol Duc Falls trailhead. The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is only 5 minutes before you reach the falls, and is a great place to stop for lunch or refreshments, or to bathe in the hot water springs, but is closed during winter.
Lodging: The closest lodging is a few minutes away at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (closed winter), or drive 40-minutes to the Lake Crescent Lodge, or 60-minutes to Port Angeles.
Camping: Camping is available at the Sol Duc Springs Campground, just 5 minutes from the Sol Duc Waterfall trailhead. The attractive Fairholme Campground at Lake Crescent is another 45 minutes away.
10 things to know about Sol Duc Falls
1. It's an 0.8 mile hike from the trailhead to Sol Duc Falls.
The falls were originally referred to as "Soleduck". However, in 1991 the State of Washington Board on Geographic Names changed it to "Sol Duc", deeming the new wording to be closer to the Quileute translation for "sparkling waters" which is pronounced "So is daq ku".
2. The dirt trail is mostly flat, but there are some stairs near the trailhead.
3. Giant logs are strewn everywhere, that will eventually become nurse logs for the next generation of trees.
4. The trail to Sol Duc Falls requires a stream crossing along a footbridge.
5. The stream makes its way down to Sol Duc River across a field of moss covered rocks.
6. The trail meanders along a grove of towering douglas firs and hemlocks, up to 300 feet in height.
7. The trail then passes the Canyon Creek Shelter built in 1939, a perfect respite from the rain.
The excitement buildings as you see the log shelter, because the roar of the waterfall is now clearly audible, so you know you're getting close!
The log shelter was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a year after the Olympic National Park was established, to enhance the safety of visitors. It was one of three local backcountry shelters built by a team of workers based out of the Elwha Camp, but is the only one still standing today. The T-shaped building is in the Rustic Architecture style, used by the National Park Service in the first half of the 20th Century, and is historically significant.
8. The trail then descends to a viewing platform above the Sol Duc Falls, where the falls can be viewed from above.
9. The water run-off at Sol Duc Falls is strongest during early spring.
10. Sol Duc Falls is a 4 prong waterfall that descends 48 feet into a narrow chasm.
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