Olympic Hot Springs
Rustic natural hot springs in the deciduous rain forest.
These alkaline mineral water springs consist of 21 seeps located in a bank on Boulder Creek, a tributary of the Elwha River.
Several of these have been created by human-made, rock-lined depressions. The depth of these pools is about one foot. Volunteers have built a series of rock-and-sand soaking pools and conscientious visitors have kept the area litter-free.
The trail is mostly along a paved road and several washouts will be encountered. The pools are across the bridge after the old lodge’s parking area. Consider bringing a towel and something to put your clothes in while soaking, thereby avoiding a possibly wet and uncomfortable hike back out. The springs are located in rain forest environs and are north facing which makes for some difficulty in finding a dry overhang on all but the sunniest of days.
The last pool is about 100 yards up the hill from where the trail appears to end. It’s well worth the extra exertion. The upper pool is the cleanest and has the best views. It’s also the most likely pool to be clothing-optional when the area is crowded.
A resort existed in the area until 1966, when the lease expired. Heavy winter snows caused many of the old buildings to collapse. They were removed, but the seeps remain.
Know Before You Go
From Port Angeles follow U.S. Highway 101 west approximately eight miles to Olympic Hot Springs Road. Turn left and follow the road south into Olympic National Park. Three miles from Highway 101 you’ll reach the Elwha Campground. Continue past this facility to the Elwha Ranger Station. Beyond the ranger station veer right as the Whiskey Bend Road leads to the left. Follow this road six miles to its end and the trail head for Boulder Creek.
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