This has been a beautiful fall so far in Port Townsend. I’m loving the maple leaves lining the paths of my morning walks and cozying up in the evening by my wood burning stove. There’s no bad time to visit the Pacific Northwest, but a sunny, autumn day is surely one of the best days to adventure on.
One of my favorite things to do during the fall is explore the raging waterfalls of the Olympic Peninsula. There are so many different waterfall hikes in terms of length, difficulty, and destination, so here are just five of many waterfalls to experience.
Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park
The Hoh Rainforest is magical place located within Olympic National Park. The temperate rainforest is home to many beautiful hikes but they will not lead you to Mineral Falls. The 5.5 mile round-trip trek to Mineral Falls will take you on a path lined with ferns and mossy maple trees.
The trip to the Hoh Rainforest from Port Townsend is just over 3 hours and the closest town to the Hoh is about 45 minutes. You will want to make sure you plan your trip before you find yourself caught up in the magic of the rainforest. There are many campgrounds, hotels, and Airbnbs along the path from PT to the Hoh.
If you’re looking to stay close to Port Townsend, make sure to visit Ludlow Falls! This short hike just 30 minutes from Port Townsend is so worth the visit! As you enter the well-maintained loop, you will start to hear the rushing waters and find yourself in awe of the seasonal falls. This hidden treasure is such a good reminder of how much beauty lies throughout the Olympic Peninsula. The hike is a short, easy ½ mile loop with benches and picnic spots to further enjoy the experience.
And if you’re hungry after your walk to the falls, make sure to visit The Fireside Restaurant. I love going for Sunday brunch! The Fireside makes a mean Bloody Mary, Biscuits & Gravy, and breakfast burrito.
I love this Lake Crescent hike! The 1.8 mile round-trip hike is easily accessible and so stunningly beautiful. This short hike was one of the first day trips my husband and I took after moving to the Olympic Peninsula and it cemented my love for this place I now call home. There are two places to view the falls, one is on a hillside looking down upon the falls and the other is a platform opposite the base of the falls.
Lake Crescent makes for a great day trip from Port Townsend as it’s just over an hour and a half away. It is home to a 100+ year old lodge with a restaurant and cabin rentals that makes for a romantic evening or two. Please note that the lodge will close for the season on January 1st, 2019 and reopen in late-Spring 2019.
Rocky Brook Falls
Rocky Brook Falls in Brinnon is less than one hour from Port Townsend but feels like you’ve been transported to another world.
This relatively unmarked waterfall is right by the beautiful Dosewallips State Park. Follow Dosewallips Road for three miles to Rocky Brook Bridge and park on the left. Follow the trail on the opposite side of the road past the hydro facility and you’re on the path to the falls. It is not a long hike and you’ll quickly start to hear the roaring of the falls. Be careful on this hike because the rocks can be very slippery.
There are not a lot of restaurants in Brinnon and the surrounding area so pack a picnic and have a romantic lunch with the relaxing sound of the falls in the background. Or for those in the mood for seafood, stop at Hama Hama Oysters and slurp down an oyster or two.
Gatton Creek Falls
These stunning, tiered Gatton Creek Falls are across from the Gatton Creek Campground on Lake Quinault. There are a couple short ways (less than 1 mile) to get to the falls. Olympic National Forest suggest combining two trails to make a 3 mile loop to include old growth forest, ferns, moss, and of course the falls!
Lake Quinault is a beautiful place to explore and takes about 3.5 hours to get to depending on which route you take. You can either drive through Sequim and Port Angeles and around the coast or take the stunning Hood Canal drive to get to your destination. Right now as the leaves are still changing colors it’s a beautiful time for a drive on the Olympic Peninsula. Lake Quinault has a lovely, historic lodge built in 1926 to make your adventure extra special in addition to numerous campgrounds and Airbnbs.