Sol Duc River Valley Photos: including four main Sol Duc Valley attractions - ancient rain forest hike, leaping salmon, hot springs, trail to Sol Duc Falls.
29 miles (km) west of Port Angeles is the junction of Highway 101 and Sol Duc Hot Springs Road.
Sol Duc Hot Springs Road peels away from Highway 101 just west of Lake Crescent, and then wends its way for 15 miles through the Sol Duc Valley alongside the Sol Duc River. This is an area filled with tall evergreens, rich green moss, and vine maple trees, which flame out in spectacular fashion every autumn.
This stretch of the Sol Duc is within the Olympic National Park. We highly recommend a visit to this valley. Check the photos, and let us know what you think....
The Sol Duc, previously named Soleduck, is a mis-pronounced Quilleute Indian name meaning "sparkling waters." This beautiful river originates high in the Olympic Mountains, winding and tumbling its way northwest, passing by the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort before turning westward.
Miles later it empties into the very large Quillayute River. By the time the Quillayute empties into the Pacific through the Quilleute village of La Push, the waters of the Sol Duc will have traveled seventy-eight serpentine miles.
The Sol Duc River itself comprises 2 main tributaries - the North Fork and the South Fork. It is the largest of four tributary rivers, draining 219 square miles of the 629 square mile watershed, the largest of the northern Olympic Peninsula.
You'll find the Salmon Cascades at roughly 6 miles into the valley along Sol Duc Road. The area is well-marked, and the parking area is right along the road.
On this early October day, the salmon are running strongly. This shot (above) captured at least 3 salmon attempting to leap up and over the Salmon Cascades.
Above Right: Sol Duc River downstream from the Salmon Cascades
The Sol Duc River is one of the healthiest rivers for winter spawning salmon. It is one of the only rivers to sustain all five species of salmon.
Spawning salmon first run a gauntlet of boulders choking the riverbed (above right) and then arrive at a large clear pool (below).
Here they rest and gather their strength for leaping the Salmon Cascades to their spawning grounds.
Drive a couple more miles east and deeper into the valley, and you'll encounter the "Ancient Grove."
Take the approximately 0.6-mile hike/stroll through this verdant green temperate rainforest.
Parking is right beside the road, and the trail through the Ancient Grove is well-marked and well maintained. Enjoy!
The Sol Duc has carved a wide channel behind the Ancient Grove, allowing the sun's rays into the dense rain forest.
The resulting views are beautifully back-lit.
The hike will lead you briefly to the edge of the steep banks of the river.
These are the spawning beds for various species of Pacific Salmon.
The Sol Duc Falls are a spectacular and fitting reward at the end of Sol Duc Road and a beautiful 0.8 mile hike through the Sol Duc rain forest.
We'd like to show you many of our photos of the Falls, but this page has
already gotten very long!
Please do visit the Sol Duc Falls photo page, where we've posted our favorite captures of the Sol Duc Falls and the surrounding forest, trail, trees, and mossy creeks.
Don't forget that it is so much better in person!
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort
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