Sol Duc Hotsprings and Campground, Olympic National Forest, WA
As opposed to the rustic natural state of the Olympic Hot Springs, Sol Duc is the developed National Park Service hot springs resort in the Olympic National Forest. We wound up going here when we found out the road to Olympic Hot Springs had been washed out (March 2016). Sol Duc is well known for its pool, soaking tubs, and camping. It lies off the natural springs dotting the Sol Duc River. The original inhabitants of the area – various Native American tribes who frequented the Springs, believed them to be healing and therapeutic. Euro-Americans took over the area in the 1880’s as usual pushing out the aboriginal visitors. They opened a resort in 1912 here but it was burnt down in 1916. It was rebuilt in the 1920’s with less scale operating until the 1970s until problems with the spring occured. After the problems were resolved it was rebuilt again in the 1980s operating since. The current Springs are operated and managed by the National Park Service, open for visitors from March 25 until October 30th each year. The pools can be accessed from 7:30 am until 10 pm daily. Cabins and campsites are available for overnight lodging. There are 32 cabins that sleep 4 each, dining facilities on site, gift shop, store, a river suite that sleeps 10, 17 RV sites, and a primitive campground. There is no wifi, telephones, television, or radios offered. There are three modern pools, regulated and cleaned daily to soak within.
Folklore: Native American lore talk about two dragons who lived in the adjoining valleys who often would fight together. Their fights would be so fierce that the trees in the mountain’s upper realms would be destroyed so badly they would never grow back. The dragons experienced a even match each fight, and never able to prevail against one another. After years of struggling they each retired to their own valley, living under the earth, and it is their hot tears that feed the waters of the springs creating the hot springs – the Olympic Hot Springs and Sol Duc.
Geology: The springs are located on or near the Calawah fault zone extending from the southeastern Olympics to the northwest into the Pacific Ocean. The water is vented from a hot spring caused by geothermal heat coming up from the Earth’s mantle by geothermal gradient with water percolating up after contact from the hot rocks. Because the hot water dissolves solids, high mineral content is mixed in the waters ranging from calcium to lithium even radium causing healing effects on bodies soaked in them. The Springs are managed by Olympic National Park.
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