Olympic Hot Springs

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Olympic Hot Springs, August 2008

Olympic Hot Springs is located in Olympic National Park, Washington, United States. The springs contain 21 seeps near Boulder Creek, a tributary of the Elwha River. The temperature varies from lukewarm to 138 °F (59 °C).


Olympic Hot Springs were discovered in 1892 by Andrew Jacobsen.[1][2] A resort existed on the site until 1966[3] when its lease with the National Parks expired.[2][4] Since then the site has not been developed and the buildings that existed have been removed.


The spring is accessed by using the Appleton Pass Trail which is about a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) relatively easy hike. In winter, due to snow, the road is closed near former Lake Mills and adds 4 miles (6.4 km) to the hike, and more elevation gain. Another hot spring in the area is the developed Sol Duc Hot Springs.The springs lie on a fault and it is likely that the breaks in the rock allow surface water to be heated and driven back from the hot interior of the earth. However geologists say they are uncertain of the mechanism that produce the springs.

The depth of the pools averages around one foot. Some pools are deeper due to rocks being placed to block the exit of the spring water.

A sign at the Olympic Hot Springs trailhead reads:

OLYMPIC HOT SPRINGS are located approximately 2.5 miles up trail from where you are now. There are seven natural hot springs in the immediate area. The hot springs are very primitive with mud and rock bottoms and are very shallow (waist deep when sitting). The temperatures in the hot springs vary from 85 degrees to 105 degrees. These hot springs are not maintained by Olympic National Park or Clallam County Health Department. During the summer months the water in the hot springs is stagnant and does not flush itself out sufficiently; consequently the pools are very likely to be carrying infectious bacteria. Further, nudity is commonplace in the hot springs, and is not condoned by Olympic National Park. You must boil or treat all drinking water. Camping and fires are prohibited in areas near pools. Water quality tests have revealed high levels of disease bacteria in the hot springs pools after concentrated visitor use. Public health officials do not recommend bathing. BATHE AT OWN RISK.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert L. Woods, Olympic Mountains Trail Guide. Seattle:Mountaineers Books, 2000, 350pp. ISBN 0-89886-618-9
  2. ^ a b Francis E. Caldwell, Beyond the Trails. Port Angeles, WA: Anchor Publishing, 1998.
  4. ^ Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°58′36″N 123°41′19″W / 47.97667°N 123.68861°W / 47.97667; -123.68861