One day while I was looking for things to do in Washington I found a map for an Olympic Peninsula Waterfalls Road Trip idea. Knowing our deadline for exploring Washington state was coming to an end, I knew we had to do it. Camping and seeing the Olympic Peninsula were both on our bucket list too so we were able to check those off too!
We had to make some changes though, the trip wasn’t exactly baby friendly. When I added up all the driving hours it was a little ridiculous. Some of the waterfalls were hours out of the way to see one sight and that just wasn’t going to work for us. I trimmed some of those off and found some extra non-waterfall sights along the way, we were set!
We set off from the Seattle area, and got our longest drive out of the way at the beginning. With so much on our schedule, we got an early start and left the afternoon before a long weekend. One of the keys to managing a road trip with a baby is driving during nap time. We managed that for most of the drives luckily, only having to make one or two extra stops. Before we settled down at our first campsite, we decided to see a few sights.
Rocky Brook Falls
First stop on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfalls Road Trip was Rocky Brook Falls. While some of the falls require long hikes to get to the beautiful sights, this is a short one. A quick jog up the trail takes you right up the foot of a beautiful waterfall. This was probably one of my favorite waterfalls, you could climb right up to the base of it, and if the weather were warmer we could have splashed around in the water at the bottom. With only one other group of people there it was a nice quiet start to our trip.
Next up on the list was Murhut Falls. This one was definitely a harder hike, with a lot more of an uphill grade and it was a little difficult for us out of shape people. It was so worth it in the end though, there’s a beautiful little sitting area overlooking the two step falls, and we had the place to ourselves. Something about seeing the beauty of nature alone, unimpeded by rails and signs is magical.
By the time we were done with those two the sun was going down and we were ready for food and sleep. That’s when we discovered the hardest part of our trip: finding a campground with availability. I think we checked out at least 2 or 3 before we finally found one with availability. We’d hoped to find one on the water, but somewhere to sleep was better than nothing! The reservation system over there is a complete headache and we never really figured it out. If you’re like us just be aware, the best campgrounds will be full!
With a little one we usually get a bright and early start on our days, and the next day we were ready for our first full day of sightseeing. This had been my first time camping in a while and it was interesting, especially with a tossing and turning baby. Slugs on the tent were a new experience to me too! I let my man deal with those though, I’m too squeamish for that. After a quick breakfast we were ready for some more waterfalls.
On our way to the first falls is the city of Port Angeles, a great place to stop and pick up any forgotten supplies. We had planned to get lunch there, but our timing wasn’t right. However, we did run into some unplanned “excitement”.
Apparently the thrill of nature’s wonders wasn’t enough for our trip. While we were waiting at a light we heard gunshots nearby and heard the whizzing of bullets near our car. We spun our car around and got out of there fast, but the main road through town was shut down for quite a while.
After a long wait, we made up our own detour through some of the back roads in the city until we got back on the main highway and out of that town. While I’m sure it’s a beautiful place we weren’t sure we wanted to stay there any longer than we had to at that point.
Right outside of Port Angeles is Madison Falls. After the almost private views from the previous day, this days sights were a definite and not entirely welcome change. It was a complete change from the waterfalls from the day before, with all of the signs and a paved path. That did make it stroller friendly and gave our backs a break, but it also meant that it was much more crowded.
Last waterfall of the trip! For us out of shape inexperienced hikers, this hike was LONG. Luckily, most of it is stroller friendly and flat, but at the end it turns into a very steep set of stairs that we were not hauling a stroller up. Thankfully no one stole it after we ditched it to get to the viewing area! While we were there we ran into quite a few people who were taking the same route as us. We found out they were also near the shooting when it happened! We got to share our stories during the hike back out to our car.
While this waterfall was beautiful, considering the hike, it was probably the lowest down on our list for ones we enjoyed. We were also the furthest from the actual falls, and if you have to skip any of them I’d suggest this one.
Sol Duc Hot Springs
Our first sight on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfalls Road Trip that isn’t a waterfall! I had never been to a hot springs before and the idea of them fascinated me. When we pulled in I was so excited. I thought it’d be the perfect way to counteract the chilly, drizzly weather and soothe our sore backs and feet.
It was really disappointing. I still don’t know if I’m just not a hot springs person or if these ones were just awful. Our first sign was when we pulled in and the parking lot was PACKED. It took us the longest time to find a space, we almost gave up. We finally parked, paid the entry fee and went back to the pools. They were crowded (as the parking lot would suggest) and not very hot. They wouldn’t let our lil man in the hottest one, so we had to take turns sitting with him in the baby pool.
Fifteen minutes was enough for us there. Maybe on a less crowded day and if you did’t have a baby along, it would be better. As it was, it was not worth the $14 admission fee.
We were exhausted after all of that. Scratching another sight off our list, we decided to head onto Forks for dinner and our next campground. Luckily for us, this one wasn’t booked full and we were able to get a spot right away. We really needed the sleep so we called it an early night.
That was a lot to put into one post, and we’re not even done with it yet! If you’d like to read the next half of our trip exploring the coastline, you can find it here:
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