Olympic National Park: Sol Duc Hot Springs, Sol Duc Falls, Lake Crescent Lodge, and Marymere Falls (Hot Springs, Waterfalls, and Lakes)


The title of this post, I know, is way too long, but we were so lucky to go to all these destinations during days three and four of our trip to Olympic National Park.

On night number three, we pulled into Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, which was definitely out in the boondocks.  In fact, our GPS had a hard time pinpointing its exact location, so we had to ask a hiker if she knew where it was..."Oh yea, it's a few more miles that way on your right," she said, "you'll love it!"

With the hiker's seal of approval, we drove giddly a few more miles to the entrance.  As we drove up, we immediately noticed the site was comprised of a very chic, stylish lodge and a number of tiny cabins around it.  There were also numerous campsites in the area for RVs and tents.

As we checked in, we were given a keycard to one of the small cabins and a bracelet for "anytime use" of their hotsprings, which were located right behind the lodge.  Oh, we were so excited, we could hardly contain ourselves.  In fact, we were so excited, we seemed to gloss over when he mentioned that our room had no wifi, there was no cell service, and the only way visitors could make calls out would be to use the one single phone located in the lobby.  "Who cares?" our hubby and I seemed to think in unison, but for Little Lewie, it was a definite flaw.  "No internet for two full days!!"  I didn't share the sentiment until I realized that I was planning to use my computer to make some last minute plans and reservations myself.  Oh well, I had to make plans the old fashioned way by reading brochures and making phone calls with the one phone alotted to us in the lodge.  (I had to call my mom this way, too.)

The mineral hot springs were fantastic--there were three of them; one was 98 degrees, one was 103, and the other was a scalding 107.  The pool was not heated at all and was probably about 60 to 70 degrees.  It goes without saying that we did not use the pool, but hubby and I LOVED the 103 degree hot spring.  As the saying goes, one was too hot, one was too cold. and one was just right.  Little Lewie tried the hot springs, and one evening he actually joined us for the full hour (you can use them for one hour at a time), but on the other days, he preferred not to go in explaining that they were just too hot.  It was a shame because the other kids around us seemed to enjoy them--like the little girl, around seven, that brought her American Girl Doll in with her and sat right next to me.

Our cute little cabin with a "visitor."

The cabins were, um..., rustic.  They did have an old fridge, microwave, stove and a hot shower, so in that way, I guess you could say we were "glamping;" however, the mattresses, furniture, walls and floorboards had seem better days (probably back in the 70s), and so the cabins didn't provide the same kind of luxury as we had at the Lake Quinault Lodge.  Our cabin did have something that our other hotels did not though--a mouse.  I heard him scampering around the first night and then the night after.

"Do you know we have a visitor in the cabin?" I asked Lewie the next morning.  

"Wait! What?" He asked perplexed.

"Did you hear any noises last night?"

"Oh yea. I did.  Is our room haunted?"

I laughed. "No silly.  We have a mouse in the cabin."

"Awww, we do?  We have a cute little mouse?"

His reaction took me by surprise, but he was right.  He was a cute little mouse because we both saw him the next day.  He fist ran from the kitchen to one of the beds and then to a closet where I believe he escaped.  "The mouse stopped and stared at me," exclaimed Lewie.  "We were both looking at each other."  

That cute little mouse, however, kept me from having a solid night sleep again on the second night.  I heard him rustiling paper, then a bag, then hitting something that sounded like the toaster, and then running back and forth.  Everytime I tried to go to sleep, I'd have dreams about him, and when I stayed awake, I pictured him getting into our stuff.  Surely he ate all of our snacks and was now nawing a hole into our luggage.  I was convinced I was going to wake up to a mess, but instead, I woke up to nothing--everything appeared to be untouched.  Pehaps the only mischief was the few little poop pellets he left in the corner.

When I told the guy checking us out of our room that we had a mouse, he laughed.  "Be happy you didn't have a chipmunk in your room," he giggled, "they're the ones that steal all the food."

In between, our hot spring soaks and mouse escapades, we had the joy of visiting historic Lake Crescent Lodge and going on two hikes to two separate waterfalls.

On our third full day in the park, we drove to Lake Cresent Lodge with the goal of having lunch, seeing the crystal clear glacial lake, and hiking to Marymere Falls.  The lodge itself was first built in 1915 as a tavern for guests, and it was later visited by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on September 30, 1937 where he first proposed creating Olympic National Park.  (He traveled to Lake Quinault Lodge the very next day.) 

Besides its historic value, the lodge is notable for its location right on Lake Crescent Lake, which is said to be "so pristine" that "visitors can see over 60 feet down into the water."  (https://www.doi.gov/blog/11-things-you-didnt-know-about-olympic-national-park)  It's also said that "While most lakes grow algae, Lake Cresent lacks nitrogen, which makes its waters crystal clear."  As I scanned the shore of the lake, the other characteristic I noticed is its beach is made up almost entirely of rocks.  The water looked rough and unrelenting, too, but maybe that's because we were visiting on a windy day.

We ended our visit in this area of Olympic National Park by hiking a mile behind the lodge to Marymere Falls, "a ribbon of water cascading 90 feet to a pool below."  This hike, aptly named the Marymere Falls Trail, cuts through old growth forest and was my favorite of all the hikes we did at Olympic.  The scenery reminded me of something that could only be imagined from storybooks.  The forest was so beautiful it didn't look real, and the waterfall was magical, too. I felt like I was on a set at Hollywood Studios.  Everything...the weather, the trees, the birds, the ground, the sun, and the water, ...was so perfect, and we didn't even have to worry about bugs!!

On our last day at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, we drove just a little past the resort (at the end of the road) to the trailhead for Sol Duc Falls.  These falls, different from Marymere, were wide and cascading instead of tall and narrow.  We could hear its thundering power before crossing the bridge that allowed us to see four channels of water tumbling through a rocky canyon gorge.  At one angle, as my husband pointed out, we could take a picture of the falls with a rainbow prism in full view.  

Can you see the rainbow?

Once we completed this 1.6 mile round trip hike, we were back in the car to visit our last stop at Olympic National Park before heading to Seattle.  Hint: Our last stop involved snow-covered peaks...

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