Sunday, June 13, 2010

Olympic National Park in June

June is a wonderful time to visit Olympic National Park, especially for rain forests and waterfalls. New growth has plants colored in a fresh light green, temperatures are warm enough that snow is melting in the higher elevations to create larger volume flow in streams, and lets face it - chances of rain in June is excellent (especially this year) making for wonderful photographs of such subject matter!

A couple weeks ago I visited two of my favorite waterfalls in the park: Marymere Falls and Sol Duc (or Soleduck, depending on your preference) Falls. Neither one disappointed!

Marymere Falls is accessed from the the Fairholm Ranger Station on Lake Crescent. It's a short trail that begins with a tunnel under Highway 101, then proceeds to travel through the lush forest of the Barnes Creek drainage. It's a beautiful rain forest full of moss and ferns.

The Sol Duc trail head is probably my favorite trail head in Olympic National Park. It serves as the starting point for such high aspirations as High Divide, Appleton Pass and the Bailey Range - all incredible high country destinations and some of the best the park has to offer.

However, it also offers one of the parks most beautiful waterfalls: Sol Duc Falls.

Sol Duc Falls is reached in a short 3/4 mile hike and is absolutely stunning - especially in June when the snow is melting in the high country. The falls are turbulent and exciting to witness. Many vantages exist, whether from the bridge crossing, one of the observation decks, or a more creative angle.

These waterfalls are a short drive from one another, and definitely worth your time. For an added bonus, the Hoh Rain Forest can be added to the itinerary in the same day.

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