Olympic Hot Springs

Port Angeles, Washington 98362

Olympic Hot Springs

Olympic Hot Springs Professional Review and Guide

"Includes: Appleton Pass and Boulder Lake. A day hike or overnighter to popular soaking pools in Olympic National Park. Skinnydippable with (much) discretion. Without a doubt the hot spot of the Olympics, this cluster of steaming springs and pools lies sandwiched between a lush forest of fir and hemlock and the whitewater rapids of Boulder Creek.

There are a total of seven bubbly soakers in a variety of sizes and temperatures, including one by a small waterfall. The most skinnydippable pool, at the end of the trail, is an easy one to miss when unoccupied."

Olympic Hot Springs Reviews

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8/24/2007
There is nothing exceptional about the trail. In fact it is paved almost the entire way. The hiking is very easy with not too much elevation gain. There are a couple of creeks to ford which is kind of fun and the view along the way is gorgeous. Especially if it is clear out. The whole purpose of this hike is the destination. However, there are a few things to be aware of. 1. The signs at the trail-head warning of nudity and even though we have only hiked this trail once we did see nude people in the springs and on the rocks along the river. 2. The NFS warns against getting into the springs during the summer months because the water is somewhat stagnant and there is lots of bacteria present. This didn't seem to deter a lot of people because all of the pools we saw were full of people. 3. It cost $15 for a 1-7 day permit to hike up the Elwha River. The drive up/down and the hike was definitely worth the money. 4. To be honest, even if it was safe, I'm not sure how soothing a hot spring would be on a 75F day after hiking 2.5 miles? Overall our experience was adequate and the view of the lake on the drive down was breath taking although we were given literature concerning the removal of the dams along the Elwha River to restore salmon runs up the Elwha. I'm not sure of the timetable but at that point the beautiful lake will only be a memory or a picture.
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6/6/2007
Getting into the hot springs? You have got to be kidding. They were at most 12 inches deep, and the area smelled of sulfur. It was quite anti-climatic, except for the guy who thought naked hiking was a good idea.
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2/17/2007
The road from the lake to the trailhead got washed out and has not been repaired yet. You can park at the lake and hike the extra 4 miles. A lot of people were doing the 12 mile round trip as a day hike, but a few also stayed overnight at the campground by the springs. Winter/spring is definitely the best time to go and have the pools to yourself.
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6/5/2006
The hot springs were pretty cool. The seven of them were spread out so that if you wanted some privacy with your friends, you could get it. But there were an awful lot of people up there (on a sunday when it was raining). If you were looking for a romantic time alone with a partner, this does not seem the best place to do it. But it was definately worth the visit since i had never been to a hot springs before. It is a new experience that i highly reccomend trying.
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9/9/2003
Arrived in late afternoon and biked to the pools. This is a very accessible trail for everyone of all ages. The pools were very hot and even though there were cars in the parking lot we had a pool all to ourselves. Very romantic in the evening. Bring your headlamps if you plan to bike out becaue you'll end up staying longer than you expected.
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9/29/2002
This trip receives its rating not so much for the walk itself, but for what lies at its end. The trail is actually the remains of a gradually ascending paved road (with three or so gentle to moderate descents) and a total of 300 feet of elevation gain over 2.5 miles (according to the trailhead sign, though it feels like slightly less). There are two easy stream crossings, and a few points where either erosion or a landslide have constricted the road to foot-traffic only for up to 20 feet. Overall, however, this hike is a potential general access hike. Strollers, bikes, and possibly even wheelchairs can reach the springs if some problem-solving is expected. Scenery consists mainly of enclosing but quite pleasant old-growth coniferous forest and roadside undergrowth. Near the hot springs, the trail passes an outhouse and a hitching post, then hooks around via a bridge to go back down the other side of the river. The heated water is sulphurous-smelling, and can sometimes be smelled before crossing the river. Over the next 100 yards or so, there are at least seven pools of varying size and temperature along either side of the trail, each accessible by a short (5 to 30 ft.), loose, often wet foot-trail. Locations can often be identified by the hot, algae- and mineral-coated drain-offs, as not all pools are visible from the trail. Constructed of stone semicircles that collect the heated flows, the pools are shallow (knee-deep on average) and silty, and clearly have a fair level of biological activity. They are large enough to accomodate two to several people. Though traffic can be especially heavy on summer weekends at midday, there are enough pools to accommodate a fair number of people. Finding a private pool in which one can recline for several hours, in a pristine setting of old-growth forest against the backdrop of the roaring river, is an especially good bet on weekdays, or weekends if one chooses to go in the late afternoon, evening, or winter. Even better, a campsite on the opposite side of the river gives the option of lounging beneath the stars, rain, or snowfall all night long. A headlamp or candle lantern can allow pleasant reading and cooking; however, natural hot springs are a limited recreational resource, so remember to keep as much organic material as possible out of the water. In the winter, the lower gate at the reservoir is generally closed, which increases elevation gain by at least 500 feet, and distance to 7.5 miles, so bikes are an ideal option. The last mile or so sometimes becomes potentially skiable. Calling Olympic National Park about access issues will help to clarify options.
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Olympic Hot Springs Photos

Trail Information

Port Angeles
Nearby City
5
Distance
260 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Easy
Skill Level
Hot Springs
Features
Olympic National Park, permit required for backcountry camping
Local Contacts
Mount Carrie USGS. Olympic National Park brochure.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018