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Fallsview Canyon (Falls View)

Olympic Peninsula

Location

Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal
View map below

Length

1.5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 300 ft.
Highest Point: 400 ft.

Rating

3.43 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2020
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

Here are two quick and easy trails to view an unnamed waterfall splashing 100 feet down into the Big Quilcene River. Though the campground is seasonal, the trails are open year round. Bring the dog and the kids, stretch your legs, and take in some fantastic scenery located 4 miles south of Quilcene, immediately off of Highway 101.

You have two options; one is quite easy, and the other a little less so, but still manageable for even young children, though you may be giving shoulder rides on the way back.

If you're looking for the easiest route, head right. This is a flat 0.1 mile loop that will give you a picture perfect shot of the falls in its entirety. If anyone in your group is afraid of heights, you may want to brace yourself. There is a fence at the viewpoint, but you can still see the dropoff. However, this trail offers the best unobstructed view of the falls you can find here.

The more challenging route is available to the left. From the trailhead, drop steeply, about 200 feet in a tenth of a mile, into the canyon with lots of switchbacks, and railroad tie “steps” to guide you around corners. At the bottom, a great picnic or relaxing spot awaits, with boulders to climb, a quiet pool to cool your heels (it’s very cold), and a view of some moderate rapids on the Big Quilcene River.

If you want to continue on -- and you should -- cross the little wooden bridge over a creek, and follow the river up through the second-growth coniferous forest and under a green canopy of deciduous trees. The further up the river you go, the bigger the rapids become, and the raucous river noise is never out of earshot even when you cannot see it. Intermittent views through the forest will reward you white rapids surging around huge mossy boulders.

At about a half-mile in there is a wooden bench placed by the forest's trail department. Take a seat, take a pull on the water bottle, and take some pictures of the river below you, then thank the trail crew for being so awesome!

Continuing south, shortly past the bench, you will arrive at a fork in the trail. The right continues along the river, the left rises slightly through more woods closer to the highway (you can hear traffic passing by) but it all loops together and no matter which way you choose, the trail will bring you right back to the bench. When you return, backtrack past the bench and down the way you came to the base of the canyon.

Remember all those switchbacks? Here they are again at the finish, and there's only one way to go but up. It’s a bit of a work-out, but there's no shame in taking a break to search for furry forest friends or snap pictures of the green and silver mossy trees while catching your breath. Once you get to the top, congratulate yourself for taking the time to enjoy this gorgeous trail.

WTA Pro Tip: Until the campground opens in late spring, you can park outside of the gate, and walk around it into the campground. Veer left through roughly paved roads and moderate winter debris until you arrive at the marked trailhead. Also note that in winter and early spring, there are no open restrooms here, either.

 

Fallsview Canyon (Falls View)

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.7895, -122.9283 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal

Falls View Canyon Trail (#868), Falls View Loop Trail (#848)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula by Craig Romano

USGS Mount Walker

Getting There

From the tiny town of Quilcene, drive four miles south on Highway 101 to Fallsview Campground, west of the highway. From Shelton, drive 48 miles north on Highway 101. Turn into the campground, then make a left to the day-use and picnic area. Note that in winter this campground is closed. When this is the case, park at the gated entrance.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Fallsview Canyon (Falls View)

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