Olympic Hot Springs Trail
Olympic Hot Springs Trail Map

Olympic Hot Springs Trail

Olympic National Park
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Olympic Hot Springs Trail

Olympic Hot Springs Trail

Distance: 21.2mi
Elevation: 3,166ft
Time: 8.5-12h

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The Olympic Hot Springs Trail is 21.2mi long, but don’t write it off for a day trip. This popular trail is often travelled by a combination of biking and hiking, and the hot springs are a fantastic way to unwind however you reach them. This is also a popular backpacking route with two campgrounds on the way. With lush forest surrounding a wide, easy-to-navigate road, this trail presents no issues when it comes to routefinding or technicality.

Many hikers bring bikes and only hike the last 3.0mi or so. If you choose to do so, remember to bring a lock for your bike.

Olympic Hot Springs Trail Map

Getting there

The trailhead for the Olympic Hot Springs Trail is on Olympic Hot Springs Road.

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Backcountry Campground

Elwha Campground, Altair Campground

When to do


Pets allowed


Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back

Olympic Hot Springs Trail
Elevation Graph

Olympic Hot Springs Trail Description

The Olympic Hot Springs are tucked into a bright green forest, accessed by hiking alongside the Elwha River. These little springs are perfect to dip into after a long day on the trail, which is exactly what this 21.2mi moderately trafficked journey is. Of course, most are either backpacking or using bikes to make the distance easier to handle.

Okay, the elephant in the room: The National Park Service warns that these pools “are not monitored or maintained and may contain high levels of fecal coliform bacteria.” This doesn’t stop many people from enjoying them—clothed or otherwise. The other elephant: this is clothing optional.

The trail is truly a gravel road, so there’s no issue in terms of unsteady footing or route finding. You’ll be able to quickly and efficiently make miles without giving any thought to getting lost or technical trails.

Beginning from Olympic Hot Springs Road, you’ll travel a straight stretch to reach a curve in the Elwha River, where you’ll follow the lines of the water across a bridge to Elwha Campground. This is the first of two campgrounds in this area, and both are great to stay at.

Navigating the river delta (which is very scenic), you’ll cross another bridge and continue hiking or biking alongside the water. There is a bottle refill station just before Griff Creek.

Cross the river again at Altair Campground, then skirt along the water on the adjacent slope. The Glines Canyon Spillway Overlook is a good place to rest and take in the view. Here, the river is reduced in flow and you’ll leave its shores, doubling back up the slope to gain elevation over two hairpin turns.

Now higher above the river valley, you’ll traverse a slope. At the first junction on the trail, stay left. A collection of creek crossings come next, and then you’ll approach the hot springs.

At the Crystal Ridge junction, stay left, then stay left again. Wrap around, cross Boulder Creek, and then arrive at the springs. They’re not huge, but take the time to explore around to find the best spot- there are more springs than you can see right from the beginning.

When you’re ready, retrace your steps back to your campsite, your bike, or to the trailhead on foot.

Trail Highlights

Olympic Hot Springs

The Olympic Hot Springs are natural, unmaintained hot water pools in the Elwha Valley. The pools are in a wilderness area and are left to their own business by the park. While they’re not treated or maintained, they’re still a go-to destination for locals and travellers alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim in Olympic Hot Springs?

The springs are not treated or tested by the park, so you will swim at your own risk.

Are the Olympic Hot Springs clothing optional?

Yes, the hot springs are clothing optional. This is why we’ve marked this trail as not family-friendly, but visit at your own discretion.

Can you camp at Olympic Hot Springs?

You can’t camp right at the springs, but there are two campsites en route to the springs.

Insider Hints

  • You can’t bring pets or bikes to the falls. They’re foot access only.

  • Remember your National Park Pass for this trail.



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