Camping at Sol Duc
Having grown up most of my life on the Olympic Peninsula, and Lisa having been born and raised here, we have come to really appreciate what splendor that we have right in our backyard, so-to-speak. With decidedly so much available to us, and so close, our commitment to each other and to Annika is to make a strong effort to regularly spend available weekends visiting the beauty of what this part of our country has to offer and the amazing, God-gifted nature that we all should be enjoying more.
This August, Lisa and I took Maya and our bikes for the weekend and headed out in our Rialta for a relaxing weekend in the woods for our first trip to the hot springs. A busy, and often booked location in the forest, Sol Duc Hot Springs and campgrounds is located some 40 miles west of Port Angeles, Washington in the Olympic National Forest. Originally constructed in the early 1900’s, a fire destroyed the resort that once stood, but was soon rebuilt to what now stands in its place. This park has a fee for entrance with lodging and amenities available for a cost at the Springs and campgrounds.
There are 82 sites on two separate loops where we stayed with picnic tables, fire pits, potable water, and bathrooms. Tent-camping was the mainstay for these spaces. Although a number of RV’s were represented at the campsites, this is a great place to simply pitch a tent, bring a camp stove and some rations and still have a few luxuries aside from camping completely primitively. With battery and water onboard, we didn’t need too much otherwise. Most of the campsites do not accommodate large RV’s however, there is a 17-space RV area just down from the campgrounds with water and electric hookups that is operated by the resort. Although the nearby county was experiencing a burn ban due to the dry conditions regionally, fires were permitted at the campground in the National Park.
Hike to Sol Duc Falls
A beautifully natural environment, the hike we took up to the Falls was relaxing and one that almost anyone, regardless of fitness level, could accomplish. There were a few downed trees over parts of the trail that we had to navigate, but there was little elevation to climb for most of the hike except the last half of a mile up to the falls themselves. Entitled Lover’s Lane, the hike was almost six miles round-trip thru the woods with a nice respite at the falls. I navigated the rocks to the water for a refreshing refill of my water bottle before we returned back to hike back to the campground. As with all trails inside the National Parks, pets are not allowed so we had to leave Maya behind for the two to three hours we were gone. Breathtaking beauty with often massive collections of trees, stumps, and rocks collecting at many of the bends offers vivid reminders of the power of these rivers during rainstorms and springtime runoff.
The Mineral Pools
The mineral pools were just a five-minute bike ride from the campground. We went both days while visiting. At the resort, there are 32 small cabins available for rent. We did not inquire regarding cost, but if one is interested, the park website has all of the information. http://www.olympicnationalparks.com/lodging/sol-duc-hot-springs-resort. There are four separate pools at the resort with a range of sizes and temperatures. The largest of the pools is actually a swimmable size and I swam in it for some exercise while there. Lisa wasn’t going near it as the temperature was only 72 degrees and typically ranges from 50 to 85 degrees. The other pools ranged in temperature, as well, and while we were there were measured at 98 degrees in the shallow wading pool, 103 degrees in the fountain pool, and 105 degrees in the medium pool. All-natural from the source, no harmful chemicals were added which made this experience refreshing and we felt much safer than a typical, chlorinated-type hot tub-type environment.
With so many destinations in the Olympic National Park and surrounding area, we are very excited to be planning short getaways to some of these amazing locations offered, in many cases, just an hour or two away!
Thanks for reading.