Marvel at old-growth trees amid a lush rain forest landscape while visiting one of Olympic National Park’s most beloved attractions: Sol Duc Falls.
The Sol Duc Valley in Olympic National Park has it all—towering trees, cascading waterways, alpine lakes, snowcapped peaks and wildlife. The valley is home to several trails and many attractions, making the price for entry—$25 for 7 consecutive days or $50 for an annual Olympic National Park pass—a great value.
The trail to Sol Duc Falls begins beyond the Sol Duc Hot Springs and Resort, at the end of the road. The impressive Sol Duc Hotel once stood at the site of the current hot springs and resort. Opened in 1912, the five-star hotel and resort drew crowds from all over the world until it was destroyed by fire in 1920.
From the trailhead, follow the wide, well-maintained path through the forest. The route is family friendly and pleasant, wandering beneath a dense forest canopy and among every shade of green. Cross a small stream on a bridge, pausing to enjoy the water tumbling over moss-covered rocks. Sol Duc Falls announces itself with a roar prior to coming into view. At 0.8 mile arrive at a historic shelter and waterfall.
Depending on water volume, Sol Duc Falls splits into as many as four channels as it cascades 48 feet into a narrow, rocky canyon. There are various viewpoints of the waterfall, both upstream and down—as well as on the bridge that crosses the river.
Photographers will want to bring a tripod and filters for the best shot of the cascading water. Consider visiting on a cloudy day, or during the morning and evening hours, when light and shadows dance through the landscape. Don’t forget a towel to dry off spray from the falls.
Seasonal tip: Permits are required for all overnight stays. Quotas and reservations are in effect May 1 through Sept. 30 for the Sol Duc—Seven Lakes Basin area.