Imagine open coastal shores, towering alpine areas, broad forests, and tropical rainforests all in a single area. While it sounds like the stuff of dreams, it’s not the setting of the latest sci-fi flick. It’s Olympic National Park –– a Washington staple known for its gorgeous falls scattered across a scenic peninsula.
The Olympic National Park waterfalls are stunning natural wonders visitors love to hike to see. With a variety of terrains to traverse, hiking has never been more exciting. You can tread through a tropical wilderness to emerge beside an open, pristine shore.
Nearly 1,000,000 acres of peninsula to explore means plenty to see and do. But, the falls are the true focal point of all journeys there. We are going to explore the five best waterfalls in Olympic National Park that are worth the trip. Read on to learn more about these spectacular falls!
5 Best Waterfalls in Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park’s waterfalls are beautiful to look at, but they also make a perfect framework to plan a visit. So, we’ve put together this list of our favorite spots in this lovely locale for your traveling pleasure.
1. Ludlow Falls
- Short, cascading falls
- Brief nature trail with easy access
About: Ludlow Falls is conveniently located near the town of Port Ludlow. The loop leading there is an easy quarter mile making it a great choice for any level of hiker. Short, cascading falls drape over smooth bedrock leading to a larger stream and one 33-foot drop at the end.
Directions: Drive west on WA-104 from the west end of Hood Canal Bridge. Make a right on WA-19 following the signs for Port Ludlow and Port Townsend. Right again onto Oak Bay Rd., and again at Breaker Lane. Pass the Port Ludlow RV park, then make one more right onto a gravel road. Follow the trail counter-clockwise to hit the falls.
2. Sol Duc Falls
- Uniquely shaped rainforest falls
- Considered some of the most photogenic falls in Washington
About: The Sol Duc Falls are nestled in the midst of a thick rainforest in the Olympic Mountains. Depending on the season and level of rainfall, the falls may split into as many as 4 branches. A rushing flume after a 37-foot drop adds a sense of excitement to any of the park’s carefully made viewpoints.
Directions: To reach the falls, drive to Sol Duc Hot Springs Road. From there, follow the national park signage to easily find the trailhead. Be aware that this road is closed in the off-season which adds about 1.5 miles to the total hike.
3. Strawberry Bay Falls
- Beachside waterfall
- Beautiful cliffside vista
About: The Strawberry Bay Falls is a gentle line of water down a tall cliff. That doesn’t sound too impressive, but the surrounding scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The falls sit beside a hidden shoreline that’s only accessible by an adventurous 1-mile trek through one of Washington’s verdant rainforest trails.
Directions: Get to Strawberry Falls via the US-101 N and then turn left onto WA-110 W via La Push Road. Follow signage for the falls until reaching the trailhead. From there, it’s a scenic 1-mile hike through tropical trees and vegetation to the shore.
4. Mineral Creek Falls
- Small area with picturesque falls
- A zig-zagging, 66-foot drop
About: Mineral Creek Falls is a smaller waterfall found near the Hoh River. Getting there is half the fun since the rainforest environment is teeming with ferns and greenery. The falls themselves zig-zag down a rocky cliff into a clear blue pool below. Mineral Creek is a small stream that runs between July and October. So, we recommend planning to see the falls outside those dates.
Directions: Drive down highway 101 S until Upper Hoh Road. Make a left there and follow the signs for Olympic National Park and the Hoh Rainforest. This road leads to the visitor center and the Mineral Creek Trail. Follow along and cross the Mineral Creek Bridge to arrive at the falls.
5. Royal Basin Falls
- Multi-tiered, rocky crags
- Quiet, lesser-known falls
About: Royal Basin Falls gets less foot traffic than the others on our list. But, that only adds to the experience of this scenic spot. It’s not uncommon to have these falls all to yourself. Waters from the Royal Basin drop down the multitude of rocky crags here to create a stunning effect. The shimmering spread is made mystical by a light mist arising at the falls’ base.
Directions: Take US-101 N to Palo Alto Road. From there, get on the NF-2880 until it turns into the NF-2870. Follow signs for the Upper Dungeness Trailhead. After about a mile hike through the Upper Dungeness, you’ll reach the Royal Basin Trail that leads directly to the falls.
Visit the Olympic National Park Waterfalls With an RV Rental
Ready to hit the trails to the Olympic National Park waterfalls? Take in as much of these Washington wonders as possible with a comfortable and convenient RV rental from Cruise America!
Change your plans on the fly and sleep in comfort no matter where you roam. Reserve your Cruise America RV rental today to start your adventure!