This hiking loop combines many of the highlights of the Sol Duc River in a less crowded, non-taxing package.
The Hidden Creek ford may not be passable after heavy rain. The section of trail between the Sol Duc Road parking lot and the Sol Duc Falls
is often jam-packed with people. Bikes are not allowed on this trail.
This lovely counter-clockwise loop starts from the north end of the Hot Springs with a short stretch on Mink Lake Trail
before turning off on Lover's Lane Trail
. This gently uphill path travels through the Sol Duc river valley upstream under magnificent old growth trees draped in thick moss. Boardwalks cross swampy areas and the trail makes frequent approaches to the Sol Duc River, one of the only on the Olympic Peninsula where salmon still run every season.
The one obstacle you'll encounter is crossing Hidden Creek without a bridge. It is pretty easily stepped across unless there has been a large rain storm, in which case hiking poles or a stick may help with balance. It is sometimes impassable! Soon after, you'll cross Canyon Creek using its quaint, one-lane bridge. Take in the double falls of Canyon Creek. From here, the incline increases somewhat to the junction with the Deer Lake Trail
Join Deer Lake Trail
, and briefly head north to the thundering Sol Duc Falls
. After a visit to the falls, start back to the west on the Sol Duc River Trail
by crossing the bridge overlooking the falls. Approximately 0.1 miles before the parking lot, a sign marks the left turn to remain on the Sol Duc River Trail
, which completes the loop through a paved campground to the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (the starting point). Online, unlike the physical trail sign, this section is known as the Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail
Alder, maple, Douglas fir, hemlock, Sitka spruce, moss, ferns.