Sol Duc Hot Springs: How to Get There & What to Expect

Right in the heart of the Olympic National Forest is a hot spring soak you don’t want to miss. Sol Duc Hot Springs is one of the most popular Washington hot springs. In this guide, we’ll give you everything you need to know before you go as well as realistic expectations for your visit. 

Sol Duc Hot Springs (Olympic National Parks)
Image source: Olympic National Parks

Soaking in hot springs is one of our favorite ways to enjoy an immersive and relaxing experience in nature. Washington is chock-full of incredible, rugged hot springs, however, Sol Duc Hot Springs could be considered more of a ‘glamping’ soaking experience.  

But don’t let that steer you away from this experience. Even though this spring isn’t in the depths of the Olympic wilderness, you can still enjoy a peaceful and steamy soak here after a long day of exploring. 

In fact, we believe a visit here is a great introduction into hot springs, soaking etiquette, and what to expect before you go venturing off on more rugged adventures to other popular springs.

In this article, we’ll walk you through exactly what you need to know before visiting Sol Duc Hot Springs, what to pack, and what you can expect from your visit here since this spring is quite different from other hot springs in Washington state.

Sol Duc Hot Springs Description

Nestled right in Olympic National Park are three hot-spring fed pools making up Sol Duc hot springs, one of the best ways to relax after exploring the OP. Because these springs are part of a resort, the man-made structures keep these pools full all year round so they can be enjoyed from the spring to the fall months.

The Legend of Sol Duc

The Quileute legend shares the story of two warring dragons that created the hot springs:

There were once two dragons; one that lived in the Sol Duc Valley and the other that lived in the Elwha Valley. They both existed in harmony as neither dragon knew the other existed, until one day they stumbled upon each other atop a ridge between the two valleys. 

Exploding with rage, they each accused the other of invading their territory. After years and years of thrashing and brawling, the dragons grew tired as neither could claim a victory over the other due to an even match. 

Each dragon returned to their respective valleys and began to cry over defeat. The streams of their hot tears are now the source of the hot springs in the valleys as we know today.

Sol Duc Hot Spring Stats

Here are all the important things to know about Sol Duc Hot Springs.

  • Location: in Olympic National Park, a short detour off Highway 101
  • Exact Location: 47.96909721218008, -123.86319614391675
  • Nearest moderately-sized town: Forks, which is 40 miles west of the hot springs. Port Angeles is another town just 41 miles northeast.
  • Access: Easy. There is no hike required and it’s located in Olympic National Park at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.
  • Time of year: Open daily from March 25 – October 30th. Closed for the winter.
  • Cost: *see rates below
  • Day use only you may stay overnight at the resort or campground.
  • Camping: There is on-site camping available at the Sol Duc Hot Springs RV Park & Campground. 
  • Type of hot spring: Natural/developed, the source of the spring is natural, but all of the hot springs are on resort property with man made structures, concrete, and amenities.
  • Number of pools: 4; There are three heated soaking pools and one freshwater pool on the property.
  • Water clarity: Completely clear. 
  • Temperature (at source): 99-104ºF
  • Depth: 6”-10’
  • Odor: There is a sulfur smell, which can be off-putting for some people, but it’s not the worst we’ve encountered with hot spring soaking.
  • Clothing: required.
  • Suitable for children? Only for children four and older, any younger and they aren’t allowed in the heated soaking pools.

Sol Duc Hot Springs Rates

  • Adults: $18, per 1.5 hour session
  • Children 4-11: $12, per 1.5 hour session
  • Children 0-3: FREE (not allowed in the heated soaking pools)
  • Seniors 62+, military, & disabled: $12, per 1.5 hour session
  • Towel rental: $5

How to get to Sol Duc Hot Springs

Sol Duc Hot Spring is located in Olympic National Park and isn’t close to any major towns. 

To get here you’ll take Highway 101 going east from Forks or west from Port Angeles and then take Sol Duc Hot Springs road directly to the resort. From here, the hot spring is right on the property so there is no hike-in required.  

Directions to Sol Duc Hot Springs

  • Distance from Forks: 39.7 miles, 52 minutes
  • Distance from Port Angeles: 41 miles, 1 hour 4 minutes
  • Distance from Tacoma: 147 miles, 3 hours 6 minutes
  • Distance from Olympia: 160 miles, 3 hours 21 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle: 123 miles, 3 hours 36 minutes

Coming from the West (Forks)

[You are heading eastbound on Highway 101]

  1. From Forks, head North on Highway 101 for around 27 miles.
  2. Turn right on Sol Duc Hot Springs Road on the right side.
  3. Continue down the road for five miles until you arrive at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.
  4. Turn right onto the property and the hot springs are onsite.

Coming from the East (Seattle)

[You are heading westbound on Highway 101]

  1. Head to the Bainbridge Island Ferry in downtown Seattle. Off Highway 5, take Jackson Street directly to the port.
  2. Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island.
  3. Head to Poulsbo on Highway 305 and get onto WA-3 N. 
  4. From here, take Highway 104/101 to Sol Duc Hot Springs Road.
  5. Turn left on Sol Duc Hot Springs Road.
  6. Continue down the road for five miles until you arrive at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.
  7. Turn right onto the property and the hot springs are onsite.

Things to know about visiting Sol Duc Hot Springs

Sol Duc Hot Springs (Resorts and
Image source: Resorts and Lodges
  • The hot springs are inside Olympic National Park. You’ll need to pay the entrance fee to get into the park at the visitor center or at the resort. It’s $30 per vehicle and you can buy a pass online and print it out before you leave. If you’re a frequent visitor of the U.S. National Parks, we recommend picking up an America the Beautiful Parks Pass to save money. The park pass only gets you into the park and doesn’t cover the day use fee for the hot springs.
  • The springs close periodically each day for water testing. Be sure to check the Sol Duc Hot Springs operating schedule to plan your visit accordingly.
  • Expect it to be busy. Olympic National Park is a popular destination year round. Ontop of reservations booking up months in advance at the resort, this is one of the most easily accessed hot springs on the Olympic Peninsula via a paved road. 
  • The springs are on resort property. Unlike many of our other favorite (and a whole lot more rugged) hot springs, this one comes with full bathroom facilities, a convenience store, towel rentals, and all the luxuries of the modern world. 
  • Cell service is limited. Be sure to download a map and directions before you head out. In town you’ll have service, but once you enter the park you’ll have poor signal going down the roads. It’s also good to note there is no internet access at the resort.

Sol Duc Hot Springs FAQs

These are common questions asked about visiting Sol Duc Hot Springs:

How many pools are there?

There are four pools total on property; three mineral hot springs and one freshwater pool.

  • Small mineral pool: 6”-8” deep, 99F temperature. 
  • Medium mineral pool: 3 feet deep, 104F temperature. 
  • Large mineral pool: 3 feet deep, 101F temperature. 
  • Fresh waterpool: 3 feet to 10 feet deep, temperature ranges from 50F-85F depending on the season.

How crowded is Sol Duc Hot Springs?

Because the hot springs are one of the most easily accessed hot springs in Olympic National Park, they get very busy. Try to avoid weekends and visit as early as you can to avoid crowds. 

When’s the best time of year to visit?

While a lot of hot springs are popular during the winter months, Sol Duc Hot Spring is closed in the winter so you must plan your visit between opening dates, which normally falls from March 25th to October 30th.

The summer months are beautiful in the park, but it can get crowded. The spring and fall months are nice and chilly enough to make a dip in the hot spring more satisfying.

Is Sol Duc Hot Springs worth visiting?

Sol Duc Hot Springs (Top Hot Springs)
Image source: Top Hot Springs

The answer to this largely depends on your travel style and what your preferences are. We think this is a great way to experience hot springs if you’re a first-timer or if you don’t want a hike and want to come out here to do a bit of relaxing. With that, we know it’s important to know what to expect when you arrive- the good and the bad:

The not-so-great parts about Sol Duc Hot Springs: 

  • The springs are man made. Since the springs and pool are on a resort, you don’t feel immersed in nature. This isn’t a deal breaker for us, but we love the feeling of being in the wild over a resort so that’s something to keep in mind.
  • Could be considered pricey for what it is. If you’re only in the area to visit the hot springs, an entrance fee, day pass, and potential towel rental are hefty for a few hours of soaking in the pools.
  • The pools are surrounded by the resort, so there isn’t much of a view to look at.
  • Reviews on the hot spring are mixed. We’ve noticed a variety of different experiences about the cleanliness of the water and quality of the rooms/facilities on the property. 

The good parts about Sol Duc Hot Springs: 

  • It’s easily accessed and comes with amenities. Most other hot springs take you down a rough road or require a hike in, so this is great if you don’t want to work to get to a bit of relaxation.
  • Olympic National Park is filled with so many incredible hikes and things to see.
  • The spring water is clear and the area surrounding is kept tidy.

How much time should you spend at Sol Duc Hot Springs?

The fee to enter the hot springs grants you access for 1.5 hours. We recommend using every minute to soak up the hot springs to get the most bang for your buck. The amount of time you spend here largely depends on your other plans and how far you are driving to get here.

You may only want to spend the hour and a half you have here if you’re planning on visiting other things in the park (which we mention later in this post). But if you’re coming from far away and only seeing the hot springs, you might consider paying an additional fee for more time. 

What should I pack?

  • Drinking water (you’ll want to stay hydrated while you soak!
  • Towel and/or sarong
  • Shoes that are easy to take on and off
  • Bathing suit, or whatever you’re comfortable soaking in
  • Clothes that are easy to change in and out of
  • Dry Bag to prevent valuables from getting wet
  • Snacks

Psst! Check out our favorite snacks for bringing on outdoor adventures!

Things to do nearby

Olympic National Park Hikes | Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park

There is so much to see in Olympic National Park! We recommend planning a few days out here to enjoy the stunning hikes, waterfalls, and viewpoints on the peninsula:

  • Sol Duc Falls: This short and easy trail takes you to one of the best waterfalls in Washington. Almost like it was picked right out of the infamous ‘Fern Gully’ movie, you’ll wander through vibrant moss covered trees to discover four different falls plummeting 50 feet into the canyon below.
  • Shi Shi Beach: This is one of the most popular things to do in Olympic National Park. Consider spending the day at this scenic beach or camping overnight to experience one of the best sunsets on the coast.
  • Hoh Rainforest: Walk through a vibrant and moody old-growth forest and experience one of the quietest places in the world. Hike the Hall of Mosses and experience one of the most well-preserved temperate rainforests in North America.
  • Mount Storm King: These views over Lake Crescent are some of the most beautiful out of all the hikes in Olympic National Park!
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Sol Duc Hot Springs | Go Wander Wild
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Are you planning a trip to Sol Duc Hot Springs in Olympic National Park? Do you have any other questions for us? Comment below and we’ll do out best to track down answers for you!

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