The Olympic Peninsula is known for its rainy weather. Rain coupled with snow melt in the spring provides ample opportunity to admire several gushing waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula. A good way for cascade lovers to maximize their waterfall experiences is to download the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail brochure which can be found at OlympicPeninsula.org.
The brochure highlights 24 waterfalls in seven distinct areas on the Peninsula. In this post, I focus on some of the most easily accessible waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula. After all, not everyone can hike miles.
As the Olympic Peninsula is so large, I have concentrated on waterfalls located on the North and East sides including the areas of Sol Duc & Northwest, Elwha & Lake Crescent, and Hood Canal. Some of the falls are located in the Olympic National Park, which requires a fee, and some are located in the Olympic National Forest.
Sol Duc & Northwest
Sol Duc Falls – Olympic National Park, No Dogs, Fee Area
Located in the Olympic National Park, Sol Duc Falls is one of its signature falls. The roundtrip hike to the falls is only 1.5 miles along a well-maintained trail through a kaleidescope of green. Douglas Fir tower over dense vegetation and moss-covered rocks. On the Upper Sol Duc River, the falls splits into three or four cascades depending on the water flow as it tumbles beneath a wooden foot bridge.
Elwha & Lake Crescent
Madison Creek Falls – Olympic National Park, Dogs Allowed, Fee Area
Madison Creek Falls is located at the Elwha River Entrance of the Olympic National Park. The paved, wheel-chair accessible trail travels a short, 200 feet to the waterfall which fans over the mossy rock. Relax and enjoy the cool temperatures in this small, shaded area.
Marymere Falls – Olympic National Park, No Dogs, Fee Area
Marymere Falls can be found on Falls Creek near Lake Crescent. Ten miles long and 6oo feet deep, Lake Crescent is one of the largest bodies of waters in the Olympic National Park. How fitting for Marymere Falls to be nearby.
The 1.8-mile roundtrip hike to Marymere Falls passes through dense forest with fern undergrowth. The falls plunge 90 feet into a pool below. Enjoy both the upper and lower viewpoint and then consider lunch or a splash in Devil’s Punchbowl at Lake Crescent.
Rocky Brook Falls – Olympic National Forest, Dogs Allowed, No Fee
Rocky Brook Falls is located near Brinnon on Rocky Brook in the Olympic National Forest. This massive waterfall, which is part of the hydroelectric plant, is just a short walk across the street from the parking area, perhaps a few hundred yards.
All the “No Trespassing”, “Caution: Water flow can change without warning” and “Don’t climb on the rocks” signs seem daunting, but visitors are allowed to hike to the base of these horse tail falls and even swim in the pools. It is a popular spot among the locals.
Murhut Falls – Olympic National Forest, Dogs Allowed, No Fee
Of all the waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula that I have visited, Murhut Falls may be my favorite. While the drive down the potholed, dirt road is rather tedious, the 1.5 mile hike through the Olympic National Forest is lovely.
The well-maintained path passes through second growth forest to the spectacular Murhut Falls which drops in two tiers, 120 feet and 35 feet respectively. A nearby bench provides a nice place to view this explosive treasure.
Other side trails lead to smaller falls on the Duckabush River, and they are all worth a look! If it weren’t raining and if the battery hadn’t died on my camera, I would have hung out at these magnificent falls for a while.
Hamma Hamma Falls – Olympic National Forest, Dogs Allowed, Fee Area
Hamma Hamma Falls are located at the end of Hamma Hamma Road which is the parking area for Mildred Lakes Trail. The falls drop into a gorge spanned by a high concrete bridge. The actual falls are difficult to see, but the overall view of the gorge and raging Hamma Hamma River is very scenic.
It is possible to walk underneath the bridge for a better look, but the area is exposed. With a health fear of ledges, I didn’t make it far on the wet hillside.
If you are looking for a longer and more challenging hikes, many trailheads may be found along this road. See my post, Dog Friendly Hikes on the Olympic Peninsula.
All of these waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula require walks of a few hundred feet to less than two miles, thus they are easily accessible for the typical tourist.