When spiking temps heat up the hiking in Olympic National Park beginning around early July, head for this superb swimming hole in the park’s southeast corner to find liquid relief. Throw a pair of sport sandals in your pack; you’ll need them on the rocks.
From the guard station, follow the Four Streams Trail up the South Fork of the Skokomish River toward Staircase Rapids. The trail leads river right less than a mile to Red Reef. Here you’ll find the emerald waters of the Skokomish River’s North Fork cascading down the ancient lime rock into a deep, refreshing pool. The current can be swift, even in late summer when water levels are lower, so test the flow by floating a branch downstream before jumping in. But overheated hikers will relish the bracing water, and perhaps even a plunge from a slanted, overhanging rock slab about 10 feet above the water’s surface.
-Hike provided by Pancho Doll, author of the Day Trips with a Splash series (Running Water Publications)