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Sol Duc Falls
   Clallam County, Washington

[ Physical Makeup ]  [ Pictures ]  [ Maps ]  [ Update History ]

Sol Duc Falls is by most accounts one of the most photogenic waterfalls in Washington State and by proxy is one of the most sought out waterfalls by photographers - and chances are it ranks favorably nationwide in similar comparisons. Set within the thick temperate rain forest of the Olympic Mountains, the Sol Duc River creates one of the more uniquely shaped waterfalls in the northwest where it splits into as many as four channels - depending on the volume of the river - hurtling 37 feet off the side of a cliff into a narrow canyon, followed by an 11 foot flume-style drop as the river exits the canyon into a broader gorge below. The National Park Service has done an excellent job at constructing rustic viewpoints that provide many varied angles of perspective.

HISTORY AND NAMING INFORMATION

  • Sol Duc Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
  • Known Alternate Names: Solduck Falls, Soleduck Falls, Medina Falls

Prior to 1991 the accepted spelling of all features bearing this name was Soleduck (sometimes spelled Solduck as well). The Washington State Board of Geographic Names approved the change to Sol Duc because of its more accurate translation from the Quillayute word, meaning "magic waters", from which it derives. A legend tells of two dragons, Sol Duc and Elwha, who fought to a draw and were sealed in deep caverns. They wept hot tears at their confinement which furnishes the water for Olympic and Sol Duc Hot Springs.

Its unknown specifically when this name was applied to the falls. A 1910 photograph produced by J Boyd Ellis of Arlington captioned the falls as Medina Falls, the only such reference we've seen so it may be that he was not aware of a standing colloquial title at the time, or that the falls (and maybe the river) were not known as Sol Duc at the time (given that much of the Olympic Mountains had not been explored in the early 1900s, this is certainly possible).

LOCATION AND DIRECTIONS

easy access

The falls are accessed from the Sol Duc River Trail at the end of Sol Duc Hot Springs Road in Olympic National Park. Turn off Highway 101 31 1/2 miles west of Port Angeles, or 27.6 miles east of Forks, where the National Park signs indicate, then follow the road to its end in another 13 1/2 miles. The falls are reached in 8/10 of a mile from the trailhead. In the winter, the road is closed at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, which adds 1 1/2 miles to the hike.

Latitude

47.95144 N

Longitude

-123.81905 W

Elevation

1951 feet

USGS Quadrangle

Bogachiel Peak 7 1/2"

Online USGS Topographic maps on Terraserver

Aerial Photographs: Terraserver | Flash Earth

Download KML

Open this location in Google Earth

OTHER NEARBY WATERFALLS

Name

Distance

Lover's Lane Falls

0.535 miles

Lower Canyon Creek Falls

0.594 miles

Middle Canyon Creek Falls

1.94 miles

Upper Canyon Creek Falls

2.471 miles

Upper Sol Duc Falls

3.707 miles

Seven Lakes Falls

4.087 miles

Unnamed Waterfall

6.134 miles

Hoh Lake Falls

6.623 miles

Bridge Creek Falls

6.876 miles

Upper Boulder Creek Falls

7.964 miles

 

 

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Magnitude

54.74

IWC

3.05  (Class 4)

RATING

53.28 %

 

Photo of Sol Duc Falls

[ View Pictures ]

 

PHYSICAL MAKEUP

Height

48 feet

Tallest Drop

37 feet

Num. Drops

2

AVG. Width

20 feet

Pitch

90 degrees

Run

50 feet

Primary Form

Segmented Plunges

 

Watershed

Quillayute River

Stream

Sol Duc River

AVG. Volume

300.0 cfs

Source

Lake

Seasonality

Best Flows

March to July

 
 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Search for Sol Duc Falls on Google

Information on this waterfall at the World Waterfall Database

Search for more pictures at:
Flickr | PBase | Webshots | Smugmug

       
 

UPDATE HISTORY

Sep 30, 2013

Edited basic information about this waterfall

 
 
 
 
 

 

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