About Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls was a waterfall that we knew had a lot of fanfare prior to our visit. We suspect that the reason for its notoriety was because it was said to be the tallest waterfall in Olympic National Park. We’re not sure if that’s a true claim or not, but the amount of literature devoted to it as well as the number of people we saw on this trail certainly made us think that was the case.
In fact the popularity of this waterfall was apparent to us the moment we pulled into the car park for the trailhead of the falls and we found it was full. Luckily, someone pulled out of a spot right in front of us so the parking lacked the drama that I anticipated.
As for the waterfall itself, it was gracefully thin and tall with a main plunge of around 90ft or so. There was also an additional lower tier, which was harder to see given the twisting nature of the gorge it was in. Nonetheless, it was one of the prettier waterfalls we had seen during our time in the Olympic Peninsula.Once we started the hike from the car park, we took a mostly flat 1.6-mile round trip hike that we leisurely did in 90 minutes including photo stops. The trail initially provided glimpses of Lake Crescent before going under the US101 and re-emerging in a forest full of tall trees.
Some of the trees had a girth that seemed wide enough for that dwarfed-by-a-tree photo op. We also noticed a handful of other trails joining the waterfall trail including one leading to a lodge as well as another climbing steeply onto the difficult-looking Storm King Trail.
When we reached Barnes Creek, the trail crossed over a modern-looking bridge and then a more rustic narrow log bridge. Immediately thereafter, the trail climbed steeply as it split into the so-called waterfall loop.
The left branch of the loop hugged the twisting gorge offering glimpses of the lower tier of Marymere Falls before reaching the official lower viewpoint in front of the main tier of the falls. Stairs ascended steeply as the trail switched back a couple of times before joining up with the upper part of the waterfall loop. That was where the upper viewpoint gave us a more top-down look at the main falls.
Then, the trail completed its loop by descending steeply back towards the start of the loop. From there, we returned the way we came.
It’s worth noting that final descent required caution as Julie had a small slip given the steepness and slick footing. She wasn’t alone as apparently someone else we saw on the trail also had a fall and cut her shin.
The signed turnoff for the Storm King Visitor Center and car park for Marymere Falls is about 22 miles west of Port Angeles along US101 near Lake Crescent (about 12 miles west of the Elwha Valley turnoff). The turnoff is on the side of the road closest to the lake (to the right as you’re heading west on the 101).
If you’re coming from the west, the turnoff is about 8 miles east of Fairholm on your left.
For context, Port Angeles was 82 miles (or 2.5 hours drive including a ferry ride [so it would take more time than this]) from Seattle. Coming from the other direction, Port Angeles was about 57 miles (over an hour drive) northeast of Forks.
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