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Marymere Falls, Olympic National Park

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It takes a little effort, but not a lot, to see one of Olympic National Park’s prettiest spots.  Marymere Falls is a graceful, 90-foot waterfall, tucked away from US-101, south of the highway.  You’ll have to hike 9/10 of a mile, one way, to see the falls, but the trail itself is just as rewarding as the destination.

Park at the Storm King Ranger Station, at the eastern end of Lake Crescent, then look for the trail that leads to this underpass.  After you walk underneath US 101, you’ll walk beside it for a while, since the path runs parallel to the highway through the woods.

It’s not long before the trail gets far enough away from US 101 that the sound of traffic fades away, and you’re left with a peaceful walk through the woods.  During my visit in 2004, and this one in 2011, I walked this trail in early evening, an hour or two before sunset.  It’s a great time in the forest, as shafts of light filter through the thick canopy of trees.

When the trail crosses Barnes Creek, you’re getting close to the falls.  You’ll walk over this bridge, then another one…

… which crosses Falls Creek, just before it mingles with Barnes Creek. The junction of the two creeks provides a nice stopping point.

Before it reaches Barnes Creek, a couple of other trails split off the more popular path.  You could choose to hike the Barnes Creek Trail, which runs along the creek for a couple of miles, before beginning a steep ascent to Aurora Ridge.  Or, you could split off onto the Mount Storm King Trail, which switchbacks part of the way up the mountain, gaining 2,000 feet in 2.2 miles.

Beyond the creek crossings, the trail reaches its only challenging point.  A brief uphill climb…

… takes you along the edge of a ledge…

… and leads you to a couple of nice viewpoints.  This part of the trail loops back to the foot bridges, but from there you’ll need to backtrack along the same trail to return to the trailhead.

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