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Olympic Hot Springs, Washington

Olymic Hot Springs are in the Olympic National Park. Due to overuse and reports of poor water quality, the Park Department no longer puts them on its maps. Do not confuse Olympic with Sol Duc Hot Springs, which are developed and nothing more than a swimming pool filled with hot spring water.

Olympic springs are accessed via the Elwah River Park entrance. Drive to the end of the Boulder Creek road and hike the final 2.2 miles on an old road. At one time there was a commercial operation at the spring site and the road is its legacy. It is a nice hike along Boulder Creek with not much elevation gain. Bikes, baby strollers, ice chests and kegs on wheels can all navigate this "trail," which makes it quite popular with the party groups on summer weekends.

There is a log bridge across Boulder Creek leading to the springs. Pools are located on both sides of the path; on the left they are pretty public, in the open and potentially sunny. Those on the right are nestled into the hillside and a little more private. The final pool on the right is my favorite.

There are camping sites above the trail before you cross the creek. A few years ago a camper was killed walking off the steep side at night.

Despite the ease of the hike, many slobs leave all their garbage at the hot springs, including soggy, dirty pieces of carpeting which they use to keep the mud off their bodies while in the pools. If you can, please haul some of this trash out.