Today is the US National Parks Service 96th birthday! To help celebrate, all national parks entrance fees are waived for the day. To celebrate, I traveled to Olympic National Park, just a two hour drive from my locale. I decided to hike the trail to Sol Duc Falls. This is in the same area as the Sol Duc Hot Springs that is very popular to tourists. To get there, travel west on Washington State Hwy 101, through Port Angeles, and continue to Lake Crescent. Stop by this beautiful, clear, teal blue lake and enjoy the atmosphere of the rustic lodge and restaurant. There is no national park entrance fee for this area of the park, ever.
Continue past the lake until you see a sign for Sol Duc Hot Springs. Turn left. I can’t remember exactly how many miles to the Hot Springs from this point, but it is under 20 miles. Expect to pay a park entrance fee to this area. But, not today, since it was a birthday for the national park services!
To access the trails, drive past the Hot Springs parking area and continue to the camping areas. The road ends in a mile at a large parking area. Today, the parking lot was full, but I lucked out just as someone left. The trail to Sol Duc Falls is 1 mile in and 1 mile back. It is a rather easy trail with gentle ups and downs. Other longer trails lead from this one, as well. It is a popular hiking trail through beautiful, old-growth forest. I love these forests, with their giant evergreens and earthy smell, along with the peacefulness and serenity that surrounds me. Enjoy the following photos of the forest and falls.
© Peggy A Thompson