Sol Duc Valley#6 in Best Things To Do in Olympic National Park
Price & Hours
The Sol Duc Valley, located in the northwest region of the park, offers several trails to explore, but probably the most popular is the mile-long hike to the Sol Duc Falls overlook. Recent visitors described the falls as stunning and called the journey an easy hike through the forest. Several visitors highly recommend it.
Other options include a 5.2-mile round-trip climb to Mink Lake or the 6-mile Lover's Lane trek. The Sol Duc River serves as a vital path for coho salmon, which run through the valley and ascend to the lakes and headwaters in the surrounding mountains. In late October and early November, many visitors head to the Salmon Cascades overlook (about 5 miles down Sol Duc Road) to watch the salmon leap over the falls on their way to spawn upstream in the Sol Duc River.
Sol Duc, which is free to enjoy, is located 40 minutes west of Port Angeles and can be accessed by turning off Highway 101 onto Sol Duc Road. There is a parking lot on-site, where the trails start. Along with a ranger station, restrooms and campgrounds, there is also the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. For more information, check out the NPS website.
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#1 Hoh Rain Forest
With an annual rainfall ranging from 140 to 170 inches, the Hoh Rain Forest is a lush, green wonderland, with mosses and ferns covering every tree and surface. According to the NPS, it is one of the finest remaining examples of temperate rainforest in the United States and is one of the park's most popular spots to visit. One visitor described walking in the forest as a "Hansel and Gretel-type of feeling" while another likened it to a fairy tale enchanted forest.
Most travelers begin at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, which is staffed with rangers who can offer advice on what to see and do. The visitor center also houses exhibits and a bookstore. Two short nature trails loop through the forest near the center, the Hall of Mosses Trail (.8 miles) and the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles). If you're up to the challenge, there is also a 17-mile trail that leads to Glacier Meadows, on the shoulder of Mount Olympus, called the Hoh River Trail.
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