Looking for an end-of-summer road trip leading to stunning old-growth forests, subalpine lakes, and picturesque, snowy peaks? Look no further than Sol Duc Hot Springs RV and Campground. Oh, and did we mention there are hot springs? Grab your bathing suit and your car keys, this is going to be a road trip for the books.
Just a 4-hour drive from Seattle via the 101, this trip has the right amount of driving time. Tucked in Olympic National Park, there are tons of lodging, camping, and RV camping options along the Sol Duc River. And, if the weather treats you right, you might get a stunning view of Mount Olympus.
Discovered by settlers in the 1800s, the spring waters were called ‘Sol Duc,’ an incorrect pronunciation of the Quileute word, meaning “sparkling waters.” In 1912 a hotel was built near the springs, which is the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort today. It’s had a few facelifts since then, including a rebuild in 1920 from a fire, and a complete restoration in 1980.
The fall landscape of the Pacific Northwest on the way to Sol Duc Campground and Hot Springs.
On your way in, stop at Marymere Falls at Lake Crescent. This 90-foot waterfall can be found at the end of a well-maintained one-mile dirt trail through old-growth evergreens (fir, cedar, hemlock, and alder trees) and ferns. The trailhead is at Storm King Ranger Station, which can be found 20 miles beyond Port Angeles. Coming from Seattle, signs and a large parking lot will be on the right at milepost 228 off the 101.
Sol Duc Falls, located near the resort, flows quickly in the summer due to warming temperatures melting leftover winter snow.
Once You’ve Set Up Camp at Sol Duc:
Once you’ve arrived and set up camp, you’re ready for a weekend of hiking through evergreens, soaking in mineral waters, and enjoying the best that Washington state has to offer. Sol Duc Hot Springs RV and Campground has everything you’ll need, including access to tons of trails, 80+ campsites, and an RV campground with sites conveniently close to amenities and the resort pools. Here are suggestions of how to spend your time on the Pacific coast:
- Head over to the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort for a soak. Campers are allowed to access Sol Duc Resort’s facilities, including the resort’s 3 hot spring pools and freshwater pool. The hot springs range from 98-107F (37C – 40C), and the minerality in the water comes from melted snow that seeps through cracks in sedimentary rocks before mingling with gases steaming off volcanic rocks. Day Passes are $15 for adults, free for children under 3, $11 for children to age 11, and $11 for seniors.
- Enjoy a meal at Springs Restaurant at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. Guests have raved that the salmon was the “best salmon I’ve ever eaten!” The fully-stocked bar and full espresso bar are also great places to have a happy hour drink or pick-me-up before grilling dinner over your own campfire.
- Watch the coho salmon leap over the falls at Salmon Cascades Overlook (late October / early November). As the year winds to a close, salmon instinctively know to swim home, back to the area they were spawned. Often swimming all the way in from the Pacific Ocean, these salmon leap upstream into the air until they can find a mate.
Sol Duc Campground offers the perfect setting for making memories in the outdoors.
Hiking Trails Not to be Missed
- Sol Duc Falls: the main event, and one of Washington’s most beloved attractions. The trail to these falls meanders through the old-growth forest and is 1.6 miles round-trip, with just 200 feet of elevation gain (perfect for young families with little feet or those with aging knees!)
- Lover’s Lane: this ever-popular hike is a longer option for those who want to spend more time meandering through the trees. It is 6.1 miles with just 200 feet of elevation gain, so while longer in distance, it is only moderately strenuous.
- Ancient Grove: this is a 0.6 mile self-guided nature trail tour through the stunning old-growth forest.
- Mink Lake: located just 2.4 miles from Sol Duc Hot Springs RV and Campground (4.8 miles round trip) this trail is perfect for moderate hikers. With a 1,542 foot total elevation gain, this rainforest hike is guaranteed to get your heart rate up.
- Deer Lake: this lake is located 3.4 miles (6.8 miles round trip) from Sol Duc Hot Springs RV and Campground, and is perfect for the moderate adventurer who wants a longer day hike. With 1,702 feet total elevation gain, it is certainly going to be a workout, while still rated a moderate hike. Neighboring Lunch Lake makes this trail a two-for-one deal!
Quick Tip: Sol Duc Hot Springs is a great treat at the end of a long day of hiking that you won’t want to skip! Your muscles will thank you!
Lake Crescent at sunrise, near the Marymere Falls trailhead
Before Your Trip:
- Check NPS.gov for alerts and road closures due to construction in the area.
- Pack for varied weather. Sol Duc Hot Springs RV and Campground’s peak season runs through the end of October, with fall weather bringing highs from the lower seventies to upper sixties. Nights can dip into the fifties and upper forties, so be sure to bring warm sleeping bags, layers, and gloves for early mornings.
- Rain begins to pick up in October, so if you’re camping during shoulder season, be sure to bring your tent cover and additional tarping to keep your gear dry.