Sol Duc Falls, Sol Duc Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Sol Duc Falls - 1.5 miles
Sol Duc Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||1.5 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,882' - 1,888' (1,961' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||6' net elevation gain (+184' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Sol Duc Falls - 1.5 Miles Round-Trip
Sol Duc Falls is located .75 miles from the Sol Duc Trailhead in Olympic National Park. A mild trail leads through old growth forests to a bridge spanning the 4 prong fall, which drops precipitously into a scenic gorge. It continues onto Deer Lake and the 18.7 mile 7 Lakes Basin Loop.
Sol Duc Falls is among the most photographed waterfalls in Olympic, drawing large crowds year round. Those with time should consider accessing Sol Duc Falls via the Lovers Lane Trail, which begins at the Mink Lake Trailhead within Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.
This longer but lightly used approach is highlighted by river access, old growth forests, a challenging ford across Hidden Creek, and a scenic bridge over Canyon Creek (6.1 miles roundtrip).
The Lovers Lane Trail can be hiked as an out-and-back, or made into an equidistant loop by using the campground access trail back to Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.
Old Growth Forests and the Sol Duc River Valley
The term old growth forest typically refers to Douglas fir, red cedar, and western hemlock forests with trees that exceed 200 years old, have a multi-layer canopy, abundant downed wood and standing dead trees. Huckleberry, elderberry, and Oregon grape form a verdant, ethereal understory in these forests.
The biggest distinction between old growth lowland forests and temperate rainforests is lower rainfall, which can be attributed to valley positioning away from the coast.
The Sol Duc River originates on the north side of High Divide, which separates the Sol Duc and Hoh drainages. The Bogachiel River flows south of the Sol Duc River, joining it near the coast to form the Quillayute River.
Chinook and coho salmon return to the Sol Duc River in late summer and spawn in late fall, while cutthroat trout and steelhead run in the fall and winter and spawn into the spring. The Sol Duc River is one of only a few places in Olympic where salmon run in every season.
- N47 57.291 W123 50.083 — 0.0 miles : Sol Duc Trailhead
- N47 57.125 W123 49.257 — .65 miles : 7 Lakes Basin Loop Split
- N47 57.102 W123 49.180 — .75 miles : Sol Duc Falls
- Sol Duc Falls is among the most popular destinations in Olympic National Park. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.
- Sol Duc Road is seasonally closed due to weather. Call ahead for status and conditions.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Permits are required for all overnight stays in Olympic National Park. Contact the Wilderness Information Center (360.565.3100) for backcountry camping reservations, permits, and trail conditions. Visit the WIC: 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
- Quotas and Reservations are in effect May 1 - September 30 for the Sol Duc - Seven Lakes Basin area. 50% of sites can be reserved in advance. The other 50% is available first come, first served from the WIC during business hours up to 24 hours in advance.
- Permits for quota areas must be picked up at the WIC, or a staffed ranger station during business hours.
- There's a $5 registration fee per group, plus $2 per person (children under 15 excluded). If you don't have access to a WIC, or plan to arrive early or late, call the WIC to arrange your permit ahead of time. Self-registration trailheads have forms, permits, and submission boxes.
- Reservations may be made no more than 30 days in advance. Groups of 7-12 people must camp in designated group sites within quota areas.
- Camping is permitted only in designated sites within quota areas. Deviation from your permit itinerary is not allowed in quota areas, except in emergencies. In other areas, permits are not limited.
- Campsites are not individually assigned, but are available to permit holders on a first come, first served basis. Campfires are allowed below 3,500'.
- Food Storage and Bear Canisters: All food and scented items must be secured 24 hours a day. Park- approved bear canisters are required in the Sol Duc - Seven Lakes Basin, Royal Basin, and all along the coast. Other areas may require bear canisters at any time based on wildlife activity, or elevation (e.g. not enough tree cover to hang food safely).
- A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Olympic National Park except when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore. No license is required to harvest surf smelt.
- A Washington State catch record card is required to fish for salmon or steelhead and they must be accounted for as if caught in state waters. Fishing regulations are specific to site, species, and season. Contact the Park before setting out.
- Recreational fishing in freshwater areas of Olympic National Park is restricted to artificial lures with single, barbless hooks (exceptions may apply).
- The use of seines, traps, drugs, explosives, and nets (except to land a legally hooked fish or dip-net smelt) are prohibited.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $15 fee to enter Olympic National Park ($30 annual pass).
- Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.
Directions to Trailhead
The Sol Duc Trailhead is located 40.2 miles from Port Angeles at the end of Sol Duc Hot Springs Road.
From Port Angeles, head west on US 101 approximately 28 miles to Sol Duc Hot Springs Road (marked by large NPS sign along highway). Continue 12.2 miles to the trailhead.
Sol Duc Hot Springs Road is closed seasonally due to weather. Call ahead for road conditions and accessibility.
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798
Visitor Information: 360.565.3130
Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort: 866.476.5382
Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)
Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center
Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877
Quinault Wilderness Information Office