Olympic National Park: Marymere Falls Hike, Lake Crescent, And Hurricane Ridge

Another day in Olympic National Park… another waterfall! You know how it is. 😉

While our main waterfall priority was Sol Duc Falls, we agreed that if time allowed we also wanted to check out Marymere Falls, which was supposed to be spectacular and – bonus – was reached by a trail that started and ended on the shores of the lovely Lake Crescent. We’d driven by the lake several times on our trips between Port Angeles (where we were staying) and the park, and I was itching to get my feet onto its shores. First things first, though.

The trail to Marymere Falls starts with a little stone and corrugated tin tunnel. Did we all shout “Echo!” as we walked through this tunnel? If you really need to ask, you don’t know us at all.

Much of the Marymere Falls trail winds gently through the woods – can never get sick of those towering spruces – but eventually comes out on a wide stream, so we knew that we were on the right track.

A short climb to an observation platform and –

There she is!

Marymere was just as spectacular as Sol Duc Falls, but in a completely different way. The observation platform was situated about halfway up, so we could look up to see the falls’ inception in a narrow stream and watch as they got wider as they cascaded over mossy and lichened rocks. Totally magical.

We tore ourselves away reluctantly, the blow at leaving the falls sweetened by knowing that our next destination was Lake Crescent.

The Twilight movies (and I think the books?) are set on the Olympic Peninsula, in Forks – not far from Port Angeles and the park. (There was Edward and Bella merchandise everywhere.) I haven’t read the books, nor have I seen the movies, but I can see why the setting – the scenery out here is mystical and mysterious. Case in point: Lake Crescent. As we drove past the lake on our way to one hike or another, I spotted something large and black out of the corner of my eye. Figuring it was the wind on the waves, I thought nothing more of it until Steve said: “Was that Nessie?” Hmmmmmm. And that wasn’t the only thing. As we were driving along the shores of the lake, a black SUV drove by us in the opposite direction, with Steve’s kayak – a red Current Designs Solstice GT with a Canadian maple leaf decal – on the roof rack. We laughed and pointed it out. Then, two minutes later – another black SUV with Steve’s exact kayak on the roof rack, again heading in the opposite direction to us. Now that’s just too mysterious.

I mean, with scenery like this – you can understand the presence of the unexplainable.

As you can imagine, we were a little bit relieved to get back to civilization and the ONP visitors’ center in Port Angeles. The kids took their Junior Ranger oath of office.

It was almost time to end our weekend in the park – sadly, because there was so much more I wanted to see, although it’s always nice to leave something for next time. But I wasn’t ready to go before stepping foot on Hurricane Ridge. This was what I was most looking forward to doing all week – I had visions of a jaw-dropping stretch of Olympic Mountains, and fields of frolicking marmots.

It was not to be.

We had a foggy, white-knuckled drive up into the mountains, only to find Hurricane Ridge socked in with fog, the Olympics hidden behind a wall of clouds, and not a marmot in sight – clearly they were all tucked up in their nests, sleeping away the cold and wet weather (and who could blame them?).

Still absolutely beautiful in a windy, mysterious way – oh, and I almost forgot to mention, it started to snow, just flurries, while we were up there – and like I said, it’s good to leave something for next time. Because I will definitely be back to see those mountains and those marmots. And in the meantime, this view was pretty wonderful.

That ends our time in Olympic National Park – for now! I’ll definitely be making a trip back here. But we’re moving on, for the moment. Sad, because I’ve so enjoyed reliving this trip for you. Also happy, because this isn’t the end of travel posts – far from it; I have a lot more to come. Next week, off to Colorado! We spent Thanksgiving week with my brother and sister-in-law and they loaded us up with adventures, so there’s more travel fun ahead. Check in next week!

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