Olympic National Park: Olympic Hot Springs via Appleton Pass

Climb up and over Appleton Pass--and past huckleberries, western red cedar, and hemlocks--to soak in this chain of natural hot springs.
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Climb up and over Appleton Pass--and past huckleberries, western red cedar, and hemlocks--to soak in this chain of natural hot springs.

This three-day, 28.7-mile out-and-back starts with a quad-burning climb over Appleton Pass—and leads to a chain of a dozen backcountry soakers above Boulder Creek. Climb east along the Sol Duc River to a three-way junction at mile 6.9. Turn left for a 2.1-mile grind, gaining more than 1,900 feet, to your first night’s camp on Appleton Pass.

The second day, descend steep switchbacks to the banks of Boulder Creek and follow it northeast 1.7 miles. Lounge in the 80- to 100-degree hot springs at mile 14.4—fringed with sword fern and Oregon grape and shaded by towering western red cedar, hemlocks, and firs—before sleeping at the Boulder Creek campsites 100 yards away.

INFO For information on weather and current trail, camp, and road conditions, go to nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/current-conditions.htm.

PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. For more details, go to nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-trip-planner.htm

CONTACT Olympic National Park, (360) 565-3130; nps.gov/olym/

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 46.2

Waypoints

OHS001

Location: 47.969755, -123.865228

From Sol Duc trailhead, follow Lovers Lane Trail to the southeast.

OHS002

Location: 47.95178, -123.820381

Continue southeast on Sol Duc River Trail toward Sol Duc Falls.

OHS003

Location: 47.952541, -123.8186

Stop to check out Sol Duc Falls where the river splits into three parallel channels and plummets into a pinched, moss-dusted gorge.

OHS004

Location: 47.932562, -123.750858

At the trail fork, bear left on Appleton Pass Trail.

OHS005

Location: 47.938427, -123.724337

Appleton Pass. Optional: Set up camp in one of the sites (permits required).

OHS006

Location: 47.938887, -123.719187

Descend a series of switchbacks on the north side of Appleton Pass. Look for Oyster Lake to the east.

OHS007

Location: 47.946419, -123.719015

Mt. Appleton rises directly to the west.

OHS008

Location: 47.968836, -123.715153

Cross Boulder Creek, then follow the trail east, paralleling the river.

OHS009

Location: 47.977785, -123.693073

Boulder Creek Campground is about 100 yards from the hot springs.

OHS010

Location: 47.976119, -123.690326

Soak in the dozen hot spring pools along the trail. Tip: The higher in elevation the pools are, the hotter the water.