Ultimate Guide To Marymere Falls Trail in Washington, 2021

marymere falls trail

The Marymere Falls Trail is an easy 1.7 miles trek through old-growth forest to the 90’ high waterfall. This hike is recommended for all skill levels and as such, is a very heavily trafficked trail.

With a gain in elevation of only 500’, this trail is very popular with families, as young and old can participate in this walk. 


The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and bird watching, and is open year-round. The hike begins level but gradually the incline picks up. There are several well-maintained switchbacks and a set of stairs but have no fear! It’s an easy hike. Your reward at the end is the sight and sounds of a beautiful 90’ waterfall splashing into Barnes Creek. This is the northwest at its best.


Marymere Falls History

marymere falls trail

Marymere Falls Trail was named in honor of Mary Alice Barnes, sister of Charles Barnes, a Press Expedition member and homesteader on the shores of Lake Crescent. The falls flow into Barnes Creek which we can assume was also named by the family. It is a well-loved part of the Olympic National Park. 

The Olympic mountains protect a region of North America’s remaining temperate rainforests. The Hoh and Quinault Rain Forests are among the park’s most notable features. Filled with mosses and Sitka spruce, the Hoh, Quinault, Queets, and Bogachiel river valleys all have characteristics of this ecosystem. 

The Olympic National Park itself was established in 1938 by President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1976, the park became an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 was designated a World Heritage Site.  


Covering nearly one million acres, Olympic National Park is home to three separate ecosystems – glaciated mountains, rugged Pacific coastline, and lush temperate rainforests. Each has its distinct flora and fauna to explore. With over 95% of the park designated wilderness, the park protects one of the largest wilderness areas in the lower 48 states. Visitors have the opportunity to experience remoteness and pristine nature in a way that few other places can offer. 


Getting To the Trail

marymere falls trail

Drive west on Highway 101 from Port Angeles for 20 miles. At the 228 milepost, see the signage for Lake Crescent and Marymere Falls, turn into the parking lot. There is no fee to park or use the Marymere Falls trail. Facilities include restrooms, a picnic area, and a boat launch.  

The trail begins at the Mount Storm King Ranger Cabin, the oldest standing log cabin in Olympic National Park. Chris Morgenroth, a German immigrant, and well-known park historian built the cabin in 1903 along with Paul Laufield, another Park Ranger. 

The hike to Marymere Falls Trail shares the same trailhead as Mount Storm King. Beginning behind the Ranger Station, the trail passes under Highway 101. The initial stretch runs on a wide, level path lined by massive fir and cedar trees. The Marymere Falls trail is wide and well-maintained. 

The Mount Storm King Trail veers left (east) a half a mile in, separating from the Marymere Falls trail. If you want a more strenuous workout, add the Mount Storm King Trail hike, if you want an easy hike, stay right and follow the trail to Marymere Falls Trail. 

marymere falls trail

PARK FACILITIES AND REGULATIONS

Olympic National Forest offers diverse recreational opportunities for everyone. Visitors can experience the rushing rivers, temperate rain forests of the coast, alpine wildflowers, and outstanding views of the Puget Sound from mountaintop summits. Wilderness areas offer peaceful surroundings and an opportunity to experience the vast biodiversity of the Olympic Peninsula. 

The National Forest lands belong to everyone. The Forest Service has zero-tolerance for racism, harassment, or intimidation in any form. Public lands should be a place of refuge and pleasure. The Park’s highest priority is providing a safe, welcoming, and inclusive experience for all visitors. 

Pets are allowed but must be on a leash and under control. Service animals are always welcome. Developed recreation sites are those which offer one or more amenities such as picnic tables, fire pits, campgrounds, or restroom facilities. Check the information boards for rules which may pertain to a specific area. 

Recreation sites are available for everyone to use. Keep in mind a few rules, such as the following, regarding sanitation. When you are in the park, dispose of all litter and garbage in provided containers where available. Otherwise, pack out what you brought in. Please remember not to throw trash into rivers, lakes, or streams, and be courteous to other visitors. 

Please use motor vehicles only in designated areas and be sure to pay attention to speed limits and traffic signs. Park only in the parking lots provided for visitors. Use trail bikes and other off-road vehicles respectfully to avoid damage to the forest. 


Navigating The Marymere Falls Trail

marymere falls trail

Starting from the Storm King Ranger Station, near the shores of Lake Crescent, depart on a paved path through old-growth evergreens and mossy fern carpeted forest floor. Continue on the path for 0.5 miles to the Storm King Mountain trail junction. At the junction, stay to the left and continue upstream under a towering canopy of conifers and maples, some decades old.

Past the junction the trail continues over Barnes Creek, then Falls Creek before ascending 200 feet to the Marymere Waterfalls. The trail forms a loop offering hikers two different views of Marymere Falls Trail. Before ascending the steps to the origin of the falls, there is an overlook to pause and view the falls descending into the creek. You can feel the cool air and smell the moist ferns while listening to the peaceful sound of falling water. 

From here the trail curves left and meets a sturdy footbridge over the creek. Keep right past the footbridge as the trail becomes more narrow and a bit rugged. Then the trail begins to climb steeply with two sets of steps formed into the well-compacted dirt and gravel. Use caution because you will be climbing alongside the cliff. 

After a short hike, you will arrive at a beautiful view of the falls. Enjoy the natural amphitheater featuring the water falling into the creek surrounded by forests. 

From here, head back down the trail the way you came in, or continue on the path for another view of the falls. There are a series of switchbacks and 52 additional steps built into the trail before you reach the upper overlook. At the top, hikers may sit for a minute on the bench provided and enjoy the peaceful surroundings and the spectacular view of the mountains. 

From the summit, continue on to join the main trail before the loop.  

For more incredible hikes in Olympic National Park, check out our guide to Finding the 10 Best Hikes in Olympic National Park.

If you’re planning a trip to Olympic National Park and are looking for a great place to stay, look no further than The 8 Best Hotels Near Olympic National Park: Our Top Picks.


Final Thoughts

The Olympics are known for the amounts of heavy rainfall at the lower elevations and snow in the higher elevations. Weather conditions can change quickly in this area so come prepared. The Marymere Falls Trail can become slippery in wet conditions.

If you would like to add on an additional short hike for the family, from the Storm King Ranger Station, follow the Moments in Time Interpretive Trail. This self-guided educational path takes you through the forest, a small meadow, and the shoreline of Lake Crescent. You will find various informational signs along the 0.7-mile loop that discuss the history and ecology of the area. Fun for children with logs and stumps to climb on, the path can easily accommodate an all-terrain stroller. 

Near this trail, you will find picnic areas along the shores of the lake and camping sites available for rent. The Lake Crescent Lodge is just to the west of the trail and offers visitors a gift shop, restaurant, hot coffee/hot chocolate, and canoe and kayak rentals. Overnight lodging is also available there. 

If you enjoyed this hike we invite you to explore the other two waterfalls in the Olympic National Park, Madison, and Sol Duc. Of course, during the rainy season, waterfalls can pop up anywhere! The Madison Falls Trail begins in the Elwha Valley just inside the park boundary to the west. It is a wheelchair-accessible paved trail only 0.5 miles in total with gains in elevation of 40’. This 60’ waterfall is breathtaking! There is a picnic area available for day use. 

The Sol Du waterfalls begin at the end of Sol Du Road. The trail travels 1.6 miles round-trip through old-growth forest with an elevation rise of 50 feet. The 90’ high Sol Du Waterfall Trail approaches the falls from above, giving a different viewpoint to visitors of the park. This is another family-friendly, very popular trail. 

With many recreational opportunities in the Olympic National Park, there is something for everyone and every skill level. Additional activities are offered such as boating, fishing, camping, and more. Consult the Park’s website for information about these and many more recreational opportunities available in the park. 

Covering 925,000 square feet, the Olympic National Park is a national natural treasure featuring recreational and educational opportunities to all visitors. The Marymere Falls Trail is only one example. Plan your visit soon to check out what all it has to offer. 

Next, check out the other top hikes in Olympic National Park outside the Marymere Falls Trail by following the links below: