Olympic Hot Springs - Boulder Creek, Appleton Pass Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Olympic Hot Springs - Boulder Creek - 4.8 miles
Appleton Pass Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||4.8 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,825' - 2,084' (2,185' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+259' net elevation gain (+605' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Olympic Hot Springs - Boulder Creek - 4.8 Miles Round-Trip
The Olympic Hot Springs are located 2.4 miles from Appleton Pass Trailhead in the Elwha River Valley of Olympic National Park. A network of 7 or more pools comprise the hot springs, which geologists believe form as surface water percolates down to the earth's interior, is heated and rises back through cracks in the rocks as steam and hot water. A heavy sulfur smell is common at the pools.
IMPORTANT ROAD AND TRAIL UPDATE (as of Spring 2017)
- Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed at Glines Canyon Dam. You will have to walk the road (4.7 miles) to reach the trailhead. This adds 9.4 miles and over 1000' elevation gain to the roundtrip distance. You may bike this road segment up to the trailhead, but not on the trail to the hot springs.
- The Crystal Creek Bridge is damaged and closed to all users. Alternative routes across the deep gorge and creek are not maintained. Travel at your own risk.
- Campfires are prohibited at Olympic Hot Springs and Boulder Creek Campground due to damage and new revegetation efforts.
It crests (1.5 miles : 2,073) and drops to a major suspension bridge over Crystal Creek (2.0 miles : 2,043'). Once across the trail comes to a fork (2.1 miles: 2,117'); keep left and follow signs for the Hot Springs.
The trail passes Boulder Creek Campground and turns left across a high wooden bridge over Boulder Creek to the first of several Olympic Hot Springs Pools (2.4 miles : 2,084'). The trail continues 3.5 miles to Boulder Lake and 5.3 miles to Appleton Pass from the Hot Springs.
- N47 59.208 W123 39.113 — 0.0 miles: Appleton Pass Trailhead - 1,825'
- N47 59.295 W123 39.440 — 0.3 miles: Cross bridge over Cougar Creek - 1,835'
- N47 59.143 W123 39.622 — 0.5 miles: Gradual climb through forest - 1,923'
- N47 58.948 W123 40.254 — 1.0 miles: Continue ascent through forest - 2,035'
- N47 58.892 W123 40.519 — 1.3 miles: Cross 2nd major bridge - 2,024'
- N47 58.796 W123 40.703 — 1.5 miles: Crest hill before starting descent - 2,073'
- N47 58.705 W123 41.171 — 2.0 miles: Suspension Bridge over Crystal Creek - 2,043'
- N47 58.630 W123 41.173 — 2.1 miles: Split left to Hot Springs - 2,117'
- N47 58.591 W123 41.414 — 2.3 miles: Final bridge before Hot Springs - 2,087'
- N47 58.595 W123 41.358 — 2.4 miles: Olympic Hot Springs - 2,084'
- Water quality is not monitored at the hot springs. Springs may contain harmful bacteria.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Camping is permitted at the Boulder Creek Campground adjacent to Olympic Hot Springs.
Permits are required for all overnight stays in Olympic National Park. Contact the Wilderness Information Center (360.565.3100) for backcountry camping reservations, permits and trail conditions. Visit the WIC: 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
- There's an $8 per person - per night fee (children under 15 excluded). If you don't have access to a WIC, or plan to arrive early or late, call the WIC to arrange your permit ahead of time.
- Food Storage: Bear canisters are not required, but are recommended. Bears are common in this area.
- Campfires are prohibited at Olympic Hot Springs and Boulder Creek Campground due to damage and new revegetation efforts. Fires are otherwise permitted in campsites along the trail up to 3500'.
- Camping is not permitted at the Olympic Hot Springs complex. Camp only in designated sites at the Boulder Creek Campground.
- Campsites are not individually assigned and available to permit holders on a first come, first served basis.
- Fishing is not permitted on the Elwha River, or any of its tributaries.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $25 entrance fee to Olympic National Park.
- Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.
Directions to Trailhead
From Port Angeles, take Highway 101 west for 7.3 miles and turn left (south) onto Elwha Valley - Olympic Hot Springs Road. Take the Olympic Hot Springs Road for 10 miles until it dead ends at the parking area for the Appleton Pass Trailhead.
Olympic Hot Springs Road is not maintained in winter. Call ahead for status.
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798
Visitor Information: 360.565.3130
Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131
Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)
Staircase Ranger Station: 360.877.5569
Seasonal Hours: June 24 - September 2: Open 8:30 - 5, Friday - Sunday
Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center
Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877
Quinault Wilderness Information Office