Spring is one of the best times of year for hiking in Olympic National Park. The rainforests are lush with dense ferns and mosses, and the canopy is so thick in the rainforests, that even when it rains, you have a natural cover. Below we have listed our four favorite hikes in the park, but you can check out a more comprehensive list here.
1. SOL DUC FALLS
Sol Duc Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Olympic National Park, and for good reason. The trail starts off behind the Sol Duc Hot Springs Hotel, on a wide path, under the thick canopy of Sitka spruce and Douglas-fir
, surrounded by epiphytes and nurse logs. This is a classic Olympic Peninsula rainforest hike with minimal elevation gain, making it perfect for all ages and levels of ability. At .8 miles, you will reach the falls, which can split into four channels, and falls 48 feet to the canyon below. This waterfall is at it’s peak in the spring, after all of the precipitation that the forest received in the winter.
2. FALLS CREEK FALLS
This trail takes you on a gentle grade to four waterfalls. The first waterfall is just a quarter mile after starting the trail, impressive as it cascades down a series of boulders. Continue on the path to an observation point at the base of the upper falls, as well as a view of the water pouring over the rocks to create the lower falls. As you continue on, the trail has a series of slight switchbacks that will take you to Falls Creek Falls. In spring, the falls are rushing with water, and the scenery is lush with green life. Spring is a truly fantastic time of year to visit Falls Creek Falls.
3. PONY BRIDGE
This 5 mile hike through the Quinault Rainforest is called Enchanted Valley
for a reason. The lush, fern-covered rainforest is green with life and wisdom, enchanting all who walk through. Hiking along the North Fork of the Quinault River, this trail to Pony Bridge will take you deep into the rainforest without much effort or elevation gain. Sitka spruce, mosses, ferns and berries grow abundantly along the path, which leads you up a ridge, and down the other side. A short spur trail leads you to an incredible overlook of the vibrant and rushing river flowing through a narrow gorge. Once back on the main trail, you will continue down to the bridge, giving you an up-close and personal experience with the brilliant blue-green river. This trail is incredible in the springtime because the abundant amount of water in the river, and the dense green mosses and ferns of the forest.
4. SKOKOMISH STAIRCASE RAPIDS
Hike from Staircase along the North Fork of the Skokomish River, through dense and vibrant rainforest. With thick trees, ferns and mosses, you will be able to experience the ecology of Olympic National Park’s old-growth forest. The path winds next to the meandering river; dramatic rapids are seen and heard throughout the route, helping you to realize how much power the Skokomish River has. Around two miles, you will reach an impressive suspension bridge crossing the river, this is a good turn-around point. Or, you can continue a bit further to "Shady Lane", where the old-growth forest seems thick with wisdom and mystery.