The Sol Duc Falls

A River Divided

Sol Duc Falls

On Friday, July 10, 2015, we continued our attempt to see as many waterfalls in the Olympic National Park as possible.  The trail is at the end of Sol Duc Hot Springs Road.  Its classified as an Easy to Moderate hike and I would agree but its closer to the Easy range.

On the road we stopped at an area called Salmon Cascades.  This is the end of the long road for many salmon and is one of the few places that can boast of a having salmon year round.  The reason being that several different species travel up this river and they spawn at different times of year.

Salmon Cascades

The river cascades down over rocks.

Sol Duk River

No fishing is allowed here.  We looked into the clear pool but couldn’t see any salmon, although no doubt they are there.

Quiet pool near the cascades
Salmon Cascades

We took the road on up to the busy trailhead.  It’s the beginning of several trails, the one to the falls being the shortest.


There are steps headed downward at the beginning of the trail. This photo was taken looking backwards toward the trailhead.

Steps to help navigation

The forest, which is lush with undergrowth has some of the largest cedar trees in the world.  The biggest ones can be seen on the Lover’s Lane trail which continues after reaching the falls.  We didn’t do this but still some of the trees are massive.  This tree had fallen and was cut in the center to accommodate the trail.  If you look at the second photo you can see that the tree took down other trees with its collapse.

Bottom of tree showing roots
Top end of tree with other trees crushed under it

This seemingly dead tree was showing signs of new life at the top.  I’m not sure if the old tree is sprouting from the tree trunk, or if a new sapling has rooted in the ragged old trunk

New life

A little bird who had been looking for bugs on the trail flew up to the top of the trunk.  He held still for Bruce to get a shot of him.

Posing bird

Little foot bridges cross small streams like this one.

Small stream

Its difficult to make out that this picture shows a wide stream headed toward the trail.  I’m sure that in rainy years it must be much fuller.  I’m standing on a bridge over the stream and there is a bench there for resting and viewing.

Wide stream

Continuing on you soon come to a high bridge overlooking the river on the right below and to the left the first look at the falls.

Looking down into the river flowing from the falls



This log is lodged in the cavern with water running over it

Its difficult to get all of the falls in one picture.  These falls remind me of a broken levy.  A small bit of water breaks through, then another break for water to flow through, then another and so on.

The falls from the footbridge
So powerful

These yellow monkeyflowers flourished in the sunlight and created a beautiful contrast to the powerful waterfalls.

These monkeyflowers take advantage of a sunny spot out of the forest


Tooth-leaved monkeyflower – Mimulus dentatus

Its easy to make out the leaf shape here, thereby giving this monkey flower its name, Tooth-leaved monkeyflower – Mimulus dentatus.

Edges of leaves are “tooth” like.

Here I’ll slip in one other little beauty. The drawf dogwood.

Drawf Dogwood, Bunchberry - Cornus unalaschkensis
Drawf Dogwood, Bunchberry – Cornus unalaschkensis
Drawf Dogwood, Bunchberry - Cornus unalaschkensis
Drawf Dogwood, Bunchberry – Cornus unalaschkensis

I liked this too.  A mother nature made hanging plant wall.  Sunset Magazine couldn’t do a better job.

Hanging plant wall

This hike was another facet in the flawless diamond that is Olympic National Park.  I took this video of the falls, but it doesn’t do it justice.  Still it is a life-like reminder of this day.