Exploring the Waterfalls of Hood Canal

Last weekend I decided to go searching for some waterfalls along Hood Canal, a fjord that forms the western lobe and is one of the four main basins of Puget Sound. After crossing the Hood Canal Bridge, I turned north towards Port Ludlow, a former logging and sawmill community. In Port Ludlow, I found Ludlow Falls, a small, 25 foot, cascade that occurs where Ludlow Creek flows across a basalt intrusion shortly before it flows into Hood Canal.

Ludlow Falls is located on the Ludlow Falls Nature Trail about half way around the loop.  When I visited, there was a section of the trail that has been washed out so it is not recommended to try and complete the entire loop, but you can hike past the falls, then retrace your route before exploring the other leg of the trail.

Ludlow Falls in Port Ludlow, Washington.

Ludlow Falls in Port Ludlow, Washington.

 

From Port Ludlow, I headed down Highway 101 through the town of Quilcene to get to Falls View Campground, a US Forest Service Campground  on the rim of the Quilcene Canyon.  The campground is currently closed for the season, but the falls are still accessible by parking outside of the gate and then walking south toward the day use area where there are a couple of short paths leading to viewpoints of the falls.  It was really windy and I was dodging raindrops so the photo isn’t as good as I would have liked, but that just means I get to go back again one of these days.

Falls View Falls

Falls View Falls

After leaving Falls View Campground, it was time to visit one of the highlights of the day – Rocky Brook Falls.  Rocky Brook Falls is a 230 foot high (and possibly higher) waterfall located not far from the small town of Brinnon, Washington.  A small hydro project was installed at the falls to draw water for the town of Brinnon in 1986.  Fortunately, for waterfall lovers, the operators of the project had the foresight to allow the falls to flow year round  Though the falls are only about 500 feet off of the road, they are impossible to see while driving by.

Rocky Brook Falls

Rocky Brook Falls

I suspect that since these falls are so easily accessible, and there is a nice pool at the base, that it would make a great little swimming hole in the warmer months.  Also, since there are quite a few big leaf maples (Acer macrophyllum), vine maples (Acer circinatum), and Douglas maples (Acer glabrum) around the falls and the path leading to it, this will be a place I will have to revisit in the fall for, what could promise to be, some amazing fall color.  That path to the falls is very photogenic on its own and some visitors to the falls have built mini rock cairns on some of the rocks surrounding the falls.

The path to Rocky Brook Falls

The path to Rocky Brook Falls

A mini rock cairn along the path to Rocky Brook Falls

A mini rock cairn along the path to Rocky Brook Falls

Before long, I was back in the car and headed further south to find a waterfall that, for some reason, was omitted from the book “Waterfall Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest (4th edition) – Murhut Falls.  Murhut Falls is a two tiered waterfall with the first drop being 117 feet and the second tier 36 feet.  The trail to the falls is in excellent shape and it is a relatively easy walk to the falls.  Photographing the falls provides a slight challenge as the falls sit deep in a canyon where the available light hits the top tier for the waterfall much stronger than it does the bottom tier.

Murhut Falls

Murhut Falls

By the time I got back to the car, the rain had turned to a steady downpour and it was starting to get dark, so that was the official end to my exploring for the day.  I am anxiously awaiting a trip back to these falls in the autumn for a different perspective…maybe when I go back, I’ll have time to hit a few other waterfalls in the area that I didn’t have a chance to explore this trip.

 

Until the next adventure…

 

 

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