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7 Best Waterfalls in Olympic National Park Worth Visiting

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Are you interested in seeing a few waterfalls in Olympic National Park? We’ve got you covered as we discuss the most popular ones to check out (and a few hidden gems)!

Hello there, fellow adventurers!

We are enthusiastic National Park wanderers who have traveled to some of the U.S.’s most beautiful parks. We’ve woken up to the sunrise over Grand Teton, hiked the Bryce Canyon National Park trails, and explored Voyageurs National Park by boat.

We recently spent several captivating days in the mesmerizing wilderness of the Olympic National Park in Washington State.

Among the many treasures of Olympic National Park, one truly stands out: its waterfalls.

This park hosts some of the most enchanting waterfalls anywhere in the world – each unique and possessing its own charismatic allure.

Planning a trip to such a diverse park can be daunting. There are so many questions: What waterfalls should you visit? Where are they located? How can you get there? Which trails are best suited to your abilities and preferences?

And that’s precisely why we’re here, to help you get the most out of your adventure and to ensure you miss none of the awe-inspiring beauty this park offers.

So, are you ready to embark on this unforgettable journey? Trust us; it’s going to be a splash!

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Exploring The 7 Best Waterfalls In Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park, located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, is a treasure trove of cascading gems, with standouts like Sol Duc Falls.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these mesmerizing natural wonders.

1. Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls, one of the most popular and iconic waterfalls in Olympic National Park, is considered the park’s crown jewel.

Located within the lush Sol Duc Valley, it is a gateway to the park’s breathtaking high country and alpine lakes.

sol duc falls in olympic national park is one of the most popular waterfalls in olympic national park

The Sol Duc River splits into as many as four channels, creating a dramatic multi-threaded cascade that tumbles about 50 feet into a narrow, rocky canyon. The sight of multiple silvery cascades surrounded by vibrant, verdant greenery and moss-covered rocks, all coming together in a deep, emerald pool, is magical.

Reaching Sol Duc Falls is an adventure in itself.

The trail to the falls is a well-maintained, roughly 1.6-mile round trip route (with 200 ft elevation change) that begins at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.

As you hike, you’ll journey through an ancient, fragrant rainforest of towering fir and cedar trees, over charming footbridges, and along the gushing Sol Duc River.

The trail is gentle and relatively flat, making it suitable for all ages and skill levels of hikers. A few roots might make it slightly challenging for families with small children.

Once you reach the falls, a viewing platform provides a perfect vantage point to admire the falls and take photos. If you’re lucky and the sun is at the right angle, you might even glimpse a rainbow dancing in the falls’ mist.

Apart from the enchanting beauty of the falls, the Sol Duc area is known for other features, such as the famous Sol Duc Hot Springs. After a day of hiking and exploration, you might consider a relaxing soak in these natural, mineral-rich waters.

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: For an extra treat, take a detour to the Salmon Cascades viewpoint, where you can witness salmon jumping 11 feet up a waterfall.

2. Marymere Falls

Nestled within the enchanting rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula, Marymere Falls is another captivating natural spectacle.

marymere falls seen falling down the green mossy rocks to the logs below

The 90-foot Marymere Falls is particularly mesmerizing because it begins as a small, narrow stream at the top of the falls, then widens and gains power as it descends, creating a beautiful veil-like effect.

During the winter and early spring, the falls are particularly powerful due to the increased rainfall, creating an awe-inspiring view.

Accessing Marymere Falls involves a tranquil and scenic 1.8-mile round-trip hike from the Storm King Ranger Station near Lake Crescent.

As you traverse the relatively flat trail, you’ll wind through a lush, verdant forest filled with towering firs, moss-draped maples, and ferns carpeting the forest floor.

One of the most striking features of this trail is the log bridge that crosses Falls Creek. Here, you’ll catch your first glimpse of the rushing water that feeds the waterfall.

The trail then splits into a short loop with two viewing areas for the falls.

The lower viewpoint provides an excellent view of the falls framed by the trees, while the upper viewpoint, accessible by a set of stairs, offers a closer and more direct view of the waterfall cascading down a sheer cliff face.

The stairs to the upper viewpoint are short but steep. Railings and benches provide assistance and rest opportunities along the way.

Keep an eye out for the rich wildlife that inhabits this area. It’s not uncommon to spot black-tailed deer, various bird species, and, if you’re lucky, Roosevelt elk.

3. Madison Creek Falls

When you’re in Olympic National Park, you can’t miss a visit to Madison Creek Falls.

madison creek falls in olympic national park seen falling down the green leafy rocks with logs below

Madison Creek Falls is a charming 50-foot waterfall that cascades over mossy rocks into a clear, small pool below. The water volume can vary depending on the time of year, with the falls appearing particularly vigorous and impressive during the winter months and spring melt.

Although not as towering as some of the other waterfalls in the park, one of the biggest advantages of Madison Creek Falls is its accessibility.

Located just east of Port Angeles near the Elwha River, it’s a short, flat, and paved 200-foot trail from the parking area to the viewing point.

This makes the waterfall accessible for all, including those with mobility issues, young children, or anyone seeking a quick nature fix without a long hike.

The viewing area is surrounded by lush greenery and provides a close-up view of the falls.

Depending on the time of day and year, the sun can create a stunning light display on the misty spray of the falls, offering excellent photo opportunities.

While Madison Creek Falls might not be the biggest or the most dramatic waterfall in Olympic National Park, it’s a delightful spot that lets you experience the refreshing essence of the Pacific Northwest with minimal effort.

4. Merriman Falls

Merriman Falls is located in the Quinault Rainforest area of the Olympic National Park.

merriman falls seen between the leaves and green foliage of olympic national park, these falls are one of the most popular waterfalls in olympic national park

This powerful, 40-foot waterfall is as picturesque as it is accessible, offering a mesmerizing spectacle that embodies the raw, untamed beauty of the rainforest.

Often described as the “poster child” of the Quinault Valley, Merriman Falls plunges energetically down a rock face, creating a breathtaking image against the backdrop of moss-draped trees and lush greenery.

The falls are especially powerful in winter and spring when they become a thunderous, misty spectacle.

One of the unique features of Merriman Falls is the opportunity it offers for up-close exploration.

Provided you tread carefully, you can scramble on the rocks at the base of the falls to get different views and perspectives.

Remember, though, while the falls are beautiful to explore, the rocks can be slippery, so caution is essential.

Also, as with any nature site, remember to respect the area and leave no trace, so this beautiful waterfall can be enjoyed for generations to come.

While you’re there, take a moment to close your eyes and listen to the powerful rush of the water and the peaceful sounds of nature.

The cool, misty air and the scent of the rainforest add to the overall sensory experience.

Reaching Merriman Falls is a breeze.

Located just off the South Shore Road of Lake Quinault, a short, unmarked trail of about 100 feet leads directly from the parking area to the base of the falls.

The easy accessibility makes this waterfall an ideal stop for all ages and abilities.

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Olympic Peninsula Waterfalls

In addition to the well-known waterfalls of Olympic National Park, the Olympic Peninsula also hides several lesser-known cascades waiting to be discovered.

Although they may not be as famous as their counterparts, these waterfalls are equally enchanting and worth a visit.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these off-the-beaten-path treasures.

small ferns are curled up late in the day along the forest floor in olympic national park

5. Rocky Brook Falls

Just outside the boundaries of Olympic National Park, in the northeastern corner of the Olympic Peninsula, you’ll find the enchanting Rocky Brook Falls.

This off-the-beaten-path natural wonder may not technically be inside the national park, but its striking beauty is more than worth a slight detour on your Olympic Peninsula adventure.

Rocky Brook Falls is an impressive sight, standing approximately 229 feet tall.

This waterfall is a classic example of a horsetail-style fall – it maintains contact with bedrock most of the time, creating a stunning effect as it cascades down the rock face.

As you approach the falls, you’ll first hear the thunderous sound of water crashing down before the waterfall comes into view. Surrounded by moss-covered rocks and dense foliage, Rocky Brook Falls is a veritable oasis of tranquility and a feast for the eyes.

While the falls are a year-round attraction, they are most dramatic during the winter and spring, when rains and snowmelt increase the water flow.

In the warmer months, the plunge pool at the base of the falls becomes an inviting spot for a refreshing dip.

The waterfall is located near the community of Brinnon and is easy to reach via a short, relatively flat trail that’s less than a quarter-mile long.

The trailhead is just off Dosewallips Road, making it an easy and convenient stop for exploring the area.

6. Murhut Falls

Tucked away in the Olympic National Forest, just outside the boundaries of Olympic National Park, you’ll find the stunning Murhut Falls.

This two-tiered waterfall is one of the hidden treasures of the Olympic Peninsula, and it’s an absolute treat for nature lovers and photographers alike.

murhut falls flowing between mossy rocks and green foliage

The falls plunge about 130 feet, with the upper drop cascading 60 feet and the lower drop rushing 70 feet into a beautiful pool.

The waterfall is a captivating sight all year round, but it becomes particularly magnificent in the springtime with the snowmelt and the lush greenery of the surrounding forest.

Getting to Murhut Falls involves an easy-to-moderate hike along the Murhut Falls Trail.

The trail is roughly 1.6 miles round trip and features a well-maintained path that meanders through a gorgeous old-growth forest of Douglas firs and Western red cedars.

Once you reach the falls, you’ll be treated to an excellent view from the base.

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: If you’re feeling more adventurous, a rough, steeper path leads to a viewpoint above the falls, giving you a unique perspective. Please note that this path can be slippery and challenging, so proceed cautiously and only if you’re comfortable with the terrain.

7. Strawberry Bay Falls (aKA Third Beach Falls)

Third Beach Falls, also known as Strawberry Bay Falls, is a 119-foot waterfall within Olympic National Park.

This isn’t your typical waterfall destination, as it cascades directly onto a beach and into the Pacific Ocean – a sight that’s as unusual as it is mesmerizing.

To reach Third Beach Falls, you’ll embark on a 3.6-mile round-trip trail that starts near La Push.

The trail is relatively easy, traversing through dense coastal forest and featuring some small ascents and descents. The path opens up to Third Beach, a stunning stretch of wilderness coastline with sea stacks offshore and a rich diversity of wildlife.

Once you reach Third Beach, you’ll need to time your visit correctly to enjoy the falls fully.

This is because Strawberry Bay Falls is a tidefall, a type of waterfall that flows directly into the ocean and is thus affected by the tide.

At high tide, the waterfall can be inaccessible or even completely submerged. So the best time to view the falls is during low tide when the waterfall cascades down a steep bluff onto the beach.

While it may not be as towering or thunderous as other waterfalls in the park, its unique location and the mix of freshwater meeting the ocean waves are a true spectacle and worth the hike.

Similar to the other falls on our list, this one is best visited in winter and spring due to the snow melt-off that provides excess water.

the rainforest area of olympic national park with tree coverage and plenty of green foliage along the floor

Rundown Of Olympic National Park Waterfalls

Feeling overwhelmed with our list? Already forgetting what was on it?

Luckily, we are doing a quick recap and providing a map!

Recap Of The Falls In Olympic National Park

Let’s start with a quick recap of the waterfalls in Olympic National Park we discussed.

  • WITHIN Olympic National Park
    • Sol Duc Falls
    • Marymere Falls
    • Madison Creek Falls
    • Merriman Falls
    • Strawberry Bay Falls (Third Beach Falls)
  • OUTSIDE Olympic National Park
    • Rocky Brook Falls
    • Murhut Falls

Map For Olympic National Park Falls

Here is our custom map to help you find these waterfalls.

If you are on your phone, you can click the box in the right corner and our map will open directly into google maps. From there you can get directions from your location, etc.

Where To Stay To Visit Olympic National Park

To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Olympic National Park and its waterfalls, consider staying close to the park.

We stayed in Seattle during our trip. And while it was nice to be able to do things in Seattle as well, on days we headed to Olympic National Park, we wasted half the day on the ferry and driving to/from the park.

Here are our recommendations for stays within 35 minutes of the park entrance.

Luxury ๐Ÿ’ต ๐Ÿ’ต ๐Ÿ’ต – Woodland Inns

  • Located in the small town of Forks, surrounded by pristine wilderness, it is an ideal place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the park
  • Offers cozy, clean, and comfortable rooms equipped with modern amenities to ensure a pleasant stay
  • Situated in the heart of the Olympic Peninsula, it’s a convenient base for visiting the national park’s top attractions

โžก๏ธ Check Prices & Availability at Woodland Inns

Mid-Range ๐Ÿ’ต ๐Ÿ’ต – Olympic Railway Inn

  • Provides a truly unique lodging experience by offering accommodation in charmingly decorated private cabooses, turning your accommodation into an adventure in itself
  • Equipped with a kitchenette including a fridge, a microwave, and a stovetop allowing you the convenience and flexibility of preparing your meals during your stay
  • Situated in the lovely town of Sequim, but also within driving distance of Olympic National Park, making it a fantastic base for exploring the park

โžก๏ธ Check Prices & Availability at Olympic Railway Inn

Budget ๐Ÿ’ต – Angeles Motel

  • Offers affordable accommodation without sacrificing cleanliness or comfort
  • Located in Port Angeles, close to restaurants, grocery stores, and other conveniences
  • May be a no-frills option, but it’s still within easy reach of the park, making it a practical base for those who plan to spend most of their time exploring the outdoors

โžก๏ธ Check Prices & Availability at Angeles Motel

small creek falls found inside olympic national park, surrounded by green foliage, there are hundreds of small waterfalls in olympic national park like this one

Best Ways To Get To Olympic National Park

Reaching Olympic National. Park is relatively easy, whether you travel by car or plane.

By Plane

The nearest commercial airport to Olympic National Park is the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), approximately 100 miles southeast of the park.

This airport is one of the busiest in the United States and offers a wide range of domestic and international flights.

The park is 2+ hours away from the airport, depending on the specific park entrance you are heading to (or your nearby hotel).

By Car

The most convenient way to access the park by car is via Highway 101, which encircles the Olympic Peninsula and provides access to various park entrances.

If you have chosen to drive to Washington from your home state, you are ahead of the game by having your personal vehicle already.

If you have flown in and don’t have your vehicle, we suggest renting a car. It is the most practical way to get to and around the park, as it gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace.

We always recommend Discover Cars to compare prices when renting because they carry all the big rental companies in one place, like Hertz and Dollar.

๐Ÿš™ Check Prices for your Ride with Discover Cars

part of waterfalls flowing into the pool at the bottom of the falls, surrounded by driftwood and mossy rocks

Tips for Hiking and Exploring Waterfalls

Not sure what you will need when you head to the waterfalls? Here are some suggestions of what to bring while exploring Olympic National Park waterfalls.

What To Bring Hiking

When embarking on a hike to a waterfall, it’s crucial to pack the right gear for your adventure.

Clothing-wise, opt for convertible hiking pants that can easily transition from pants to shorts in changing weather conditions.

Footwear is essential for navigating the often wet and slippery terrain, so consider bringing water shoes or sandals like Tevas, Chacos, or Keen-type shoes designed explicitly for this purpose.

In addition to appropriate attire, pack essential items like a collapsible and reusable water bottle, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, a travel backpack, a water gallon jug, and an extra pair of dry, warm socks.

Snacks are also a must when hiking to a waterfall, so pack some energizing and nutritious options to keep you fueled throughout your journey.

Waterfall Photography Gear

Capturing the beauty of a waterfall requires the right photography gear.

A tripod is crucial for long exposure shots, allowing the camera to remain still and create the smooth, flowing water effect often seen in waterfall photographs.

A camera strap that wraps around your hand can provide extra protection against dropping the camera while shooting near water.

These waterfalls are surrounded by lush landscapes that you will want to capture. So consider bringing a wide-angle lens in addition to a standard zoom lens.

As you can get quite close to all the waterfalls we mentioned, you might want to try your hand at a wider shot to see what you can get in the frame.

Regarding what camera to bring, we will leave this up to you. It needs to be something that you use regularly and feel comfortable adjusting the settings. We always use our Canon 5D when traveling.

small creek falls surrounded by mossy logs and rocks

Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Map

To help you plan your waterfall exploration, the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Map is an invaluable resource.

The map provides detailed information about the locations of waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula. The map covers seven areas of Olympic National Park and the Peninsula, showcasing both “accessible” and “backcountry” waterfalls in the region.

For more information on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Map, visit www.OlympicPeninsulaWaterfallTrail.com.

Accessible Waterfalls

Accessible waterfalls in Olympic National Park cater to visitors of all abilities, ensuring everyone can experience the captivating beauty of these natural wonders.

Madison Falls and Merriman Falls are just a few examples of accessible waterfalls in the park.

Their short hikes and wheelchair-accessible paths make them perfect for families with children, elderly visitors, or those with mobility limitations.

In addition to their accessibility, these waterfalls offer parking and often have toilets and picnic tables, making it convenient for visitors to spend a day in nature.

Backcountry Waterfalls

For the more adventurous visitors, backcountry waterfalls offer a thrilling exploration opportunity in the remote areas of Olympic National Park.

Mineral Creek Falls and the Enchanted Valley are examples of backcountry waterfalls requiring a more challenging hike or trek.

These secluded waterfalls are surrounded by lush greenery, making them the ultimate destination for those looking to escape the busyness of everyday life and immerse themselves in the serenity of nature.

one of the small waterfalls in olympic national park, image is filled with green moss and leaves around the water

FAQs For Olympic National Park Waterfalls

Time to answer a few common questions regarding the falls in Olympic National Park.

Are There Any Waterfalls In Olympic National Park?

Yes, there are Olympic National Park waterfalls! You’ll find popular waterfalls like Sol Duc Falls and Marymere Falls inside the park. Additionally, you can explore seven distinct waterfall areas around the Olympic Peninsula, which lies across Puget Sound from Seattle, bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Hood Canal.

How Many Waterfalls Are At Olympic National Park?

While there isn’t an exact count due to the park’s vast and rugged terrain, estimates range from several dozen to more than 200 scattered throughout the diverse landscape. Some of the most visited are Sol Duc Falls, Madison Creek Falls, and Merriman Falls, contributing to the park’s rich beauty and biodiversity.

How Long Is Marymere Falls Hike?

The Marymere Falls hike is a popular day hike in Olympic National Park near Lake Crescent in Washington. The trail is a 1.8-mile roundtrip out-and-back path through old-growth lowland forest and culminates at a 90-foot waterfall. It’s an easy hike starting from the Storm King Ranger Station that takes about 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your pace.

How Hard Is The Sol Duc Falls Hike?

The Sol Duc Falls hike is relatively easy. The round-trip distance is approximately 1.6 miles, with a gentle elevation gain of 200 feet. The trail is well-maintained, leading through lush forest to the spectacular waterfall view. It’s suitable for most fitness levels and typically takes about 1 hour to complete.

What US National Park Has The Most Waterfalls?

Yosemite National Park, located in California, holds the title for the U.S. national park with the most waterfalls. The park is home to countless falls, including some of the highest in the country, such as Yosemite Falls and Sentinel Falls. The waterfalls are particularly spectacular in spring when the snowmelt increases their flow.

a bench sits in the hoh rainforest of olympic national park

To Finish – Best Waterfalls In Olympic National Park

A captivating magic unfolds as you traverse the trails of Olympic National Park, guided by the distant roar of cascading waters.

From the dramatic plunge of Sol Duc Falls and the elegance of Marymere Falls to the less-explored beauty of Murhut Falls, each waterfall paints a unique stroke in the park’s expansive natural canvas.

Embark on these journeys, allow the serene whispers of nature to take over, and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing spectacle that are the best waterfalls in Olympic National Park.

There’s no better way to fully experience the park’s powerful allure.

We hope you find these watery wonders as enchanting as we do. Happy waterfall hunting!