|Scenery:||(4.0 / 5)|
|Difficulty:||(1.5 / 5)|
Murhut Falls, long a secret only known to locals along the east side of the Olympic Peninsula, cascades 153 feet in two sections down into a verdant gorge along the Duckabush River, culminating in a small pool festooned with fallen old-growth logs. Adventurers can wander into the pool at the base of the lower falls and cool off in the glacier–fed spray. This classic Northwest waterfall is accessible via a short hike and is well worth a visit for anyone traveling on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula.
Hiking to Murhut Falls takes 15 to 20 minutes and is well worth the slight amount of elevation gain (175 feet) encountered. Start at the “Murhut Falls Trail” sign at trailhead off FR 2510. The trail is wide, even, and well-graded — and was refurbished in recent years by the Forest Service, making access to this gem of a woodland waterfall that much easier. Right from the trailhead, which is marked with a “Murhut Falls Trail” sign, hikers enter into another world dominated by big trees. A hundred feet in, a trail register kiosk beckons hikers to sign in and out of the hike. Then for a third of a mile the trail climbs, with classic second–growth forest views punctuated by winding mossy big-leaf maple boughs, pink rhododendron blossoms, yellow-orange salmonberries, and crumbling old-growth nurse log. The trail then flattens out and rounds a curve to the left, at which point the sound of rushing water starts to dominate the soundscape. In another hundred feet, the Duckabush River comes into view for the first time, and soon thereafter hikers are treated to peekaboo views of Murhut Falls.
After one more push uphill, the trail terminates at an overlook with a rough-hewn half-log bench that provides a front-row seat to the action. Murhut Falls drops in one large horsetail segment for 117 feet from a cliff high above, then pools briefly before fanning out into a second drop of 36 feet. Adventurous hikers with mountain goat cliff-walking skills can venture down to this lower pool from the trail terminus and even splash in the spray of the lower fall and cross over to the other side on a fallen old-growth log traversing the Duckabush River. After exploring the falls, turn around and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.
From US 101 Brinnon, WA, drive northwest on Duckabush Road for 3.5 miles where it turns into FR 2510 (and becomes dirt in the process). Continue on for another 2.5 miles to a fork; head right (north), following signs for Murhut Falls. Drive another 1.5 miles and park in the pull-out to the left (south); the well-marked trailhead is on the right (north) side of the road.
For more info, contact Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District, Quilcene, WA; (360) 765-2200.