About Rocky Brook Falls
Rocky Brook Falls might have been Julie’s favorite waterfall on the Olympic Peninsula. In addition to exceeding her expectations of what she thought was a relatively obscure and unknown waterfall (though we weren’t the only ones here as we saw four other people when we were on our way back to our car), it was also very tall (possibly around 150ft) while fanning out in rivulets on its descent all while framed by a rock tower above its brink.
On top of that, the walk to the falls was quite short and easy with the exception of the jumble of rocks at its base for a better view. The walk was easy enough that we were able to bring our baby here (though we didn’t do any rock scrambling with her).
The short walk began from a humble unsigned pullout (see directions below) just west of the small Rocky Creek Bridge. There was a small hydroelectric building and some signs giving the appearance that it was forbidden private property, but it turned out that the trail to the falls wasn’t private.Indeed, that trail continued to the right of the building and followed the brook all the way to the rocky base of the falls. The walk took about five minutes or less in each direction.
Even though it required a little bit of rock scrambling at the base of the falls to get the best views, there were signs posted indicating that stream levels can dramatically increase without warning. The two takeaways I got from this sign were that we shouldn’t linger too long in the stream (let alone swim at the plunge pool at its base) and that the stream may have a hydroelectric dam further upstream suggesting the falls would be regulated (though this was just a hunch and would need to be verified).
In terms of photography, as you can see from the photo at the top of this page, we might have showed up a few minutes too late for the best photographs because the shadows bisected part of the waterfall. With such large contrast and without a graduated or split neutral density filter, the shadows would either be too dark or the sunlight parts would be washed out.
Had we come earlier in the day, everything would be under shadow and the lighting would be even. Of course, these parts tend to be rainy or at least overcast and misty so perhaps the conditions in which we visited were more of the exception rather than the rule.
This happened to be the lone waterfall we visited while in the Dosewallips State Park vicinity because the Dosewallips Road, which was unpaved with potholes a couple miles west of Rocky Brook Falls, was supposed to lead to Dosewallips Falls further to the west. However, the road was washed out just at the river where it seemed a bridge that used to be there must have been washed out.
I have no idea if there are plans to re-open the road or if it’s to be left in disrepair. Had the road continued to the falls, it would’ve been another waterfall entry on this website from this area. Instead, we now had to walk the remaining 11 miles or so in each direction, which was something we weren’t going to do on this trip.
Dosewallips State Park is on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula roughly 21 miles south of the Hwy 104/US101 junction (Hwy 104 is notable because it’s one of the main highways we took to get to and from the Bainbridge Island/Seattle ferry on this side of Puget Sound).
Once on the small Dosewallips road, we followed it west roughly 3 miles where there’s a small, unassuming pullout on the west side of the small Rocky Brook Bridge. As mentioned earlier, there’s a hydro building and some signage about safety to help you identify this unsigned trailhead.
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