Web Page Provides Keys To Finding Olympic National Park's Waterfalls

Olympic National Park has more than its share of waterfalls. To help you find some of them, such as Maple Creek Falls on top or Marymere Falls on the bottom, the Olympic Peninsula Visitors Bureau has developed a web page that provides all the details you'll need. Photos by Mary Brelsford

Olympic National Park is a decidedly wet and misty place, one where the thick forests and leafy understory make it hard to see past the bend in the trail. Contributing to this lush, moist setting are some beautiful waterfalls that cascade down moss-covered rocks. These aren't towering falls such as those you find in the Yosemite Valley or the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, but smaller, more intimate "pocket" waterfalls.

Some are somewhat easy to find, some are more challenging in terms of hiking down a trail. While several of the falls are wheelchair accessible, others require backcountry hiking or are best viewed from the water. To help you navigate the park and find its waterfalls, the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau has created a handy web page that lists a number of the cataracts with accompanying photos and directions.

“There are so many gorgeous falls on the Olympic Peninsula and yet few people know where they are or how to get to them,” says Diane Schostak, director of the visitor bureau. “The web page is full of helpful details. It features a map that pinpoints the location of each falls, and includes useful information such as accessibility and GPS coordinates.”

You can find the web page here: http://www.olympicpeninsulawaterfalltrail.com/

And here's a sampling of what you'll find there:

The falls are located in three primary areas within and around Olympic National Park and the Olympic National Forest; the North Olympic Peninsula, the Hood Canal, and the Quinault Valley. Their geographic diversity and the ever-evolving natural beauty that surrounds the falls will inspire visitors to enjoy them year ‘round.

North Olympic Peninsula Falls

Situated in rainforest country on the North Olympic Peninsula, Maple Creek Falls is a small but picturesque cascade hidden along the south shore of the Hoh River. Best viewed from the water, visitors can book a raft trip from the upper Hoh River on the west side of Olympic National Park.

Falls Creek Falls is found approximately nine miles south of Third Beach near La Push, in the South Coast Wilderness area of Olympic National Park. This 40-foot waterfall on Falls Creek in the Goodman Creek estuary can be viewed by backpackers traveling the wilderness coast south of Toleak Point.

Other falls located on the North Olympic Peninsula include Madison Creek and Wolf Creek Falls on the Elwha River; Marymere Falls on Lake Crescent; Sol Duc Falls on the Upper Sol Duc River; and Mineral Falls on the Upper Hoh River.

Quinault Valley Falls

The Quinault Valley contains the highest concentration of waterfalls viewable reasonably close to the roadside and on short trails. Visitors can enjoy Willaby Creek Falls, Gatton Creek Falls, Merriman and Bunch Creek Falls, all located on Lake Quinault’s South Shore Road, in a pleasant day trip.

The scores of seasonal falls that spring forth from the high mountainsides of the mile-long Enchanted Valley deep within Olympic National Park are a marvel for the backcountry hiker to behold during the spring and summer months. The trail to the Enchanted Valley follows the east fork of the Quinault River for 13 miles, and is a wonderful trip in itself.


That's a cool offering. Marymere is pretty easy, since there's a well-trodden trail right to it. Some of the others can be a bit dicey. I notice they don't point out Service Falls up at the head of the Queets Valley. Gorgeous, big waterfall, but supposedly only a couple people have ever managed to see it from the ground. Olympic certainly has some remote attractions.