Last Updated on: 30th January 2023, 04:53 pm
Planning to hike the Marymere Falls Trail during your trip to Olympic National Park?
This beautiful waterfall is at the end of one of the great hikes near Lake Crescent, and it’s a perfect way to soak in the Pacific Northwest’s cool air and Old-Growth Forests.
This post is a trip report from my own experiences hiking Marymere Falls plus tips to help you plan your own Marymere Falls trail hike.
Read next: How to plan a trip to Olympic National Park
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We explored many parts of this corner of the Pacific Northwest, including Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Sequim, and Port Ludlow.
While the trip was hosted by the OPTC, all opinions are my own, including thoughts I share about my visit and my tips for what you should do during your trip to Washington state.
About Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in Olympic National Park.
This is partially due to its location. Situated near Lake Crescent, is only accessible via an easy hike.
Marymere Falls is a horsetail waterfall, which means that it keeps contact with the underlying rock for most of the way down the cascades.
It’s also the tallest waterfall in ONP.
This 90-foot waterfall is located on Falls Creek, which flows into Barnes Creek below the falls.
Things to Know Before Hiking Marymere Falls + Trail Tips
Here’s what you need to know to plan your Marymere Falls hike!
How to Visit Marymere Falls
The only way to visit Marymere Falls is to walk the Marymere Falls Trail from either the Storm King Ranger Station or the Lake Crescent Lodge.
Olympic National Park Entry Fees
The only way to get to the trailhead is through Olympic National Park, so you will need to pay the entry fees for the park.
For a non-commercial vehicle, the entry fee for seven days is $30. This covers up to fifteen people arriving in a single vehicle.
If you live in the area and plan on visiting the park on multiple trips over more than a week, you can get an Olympic National Park annual pass for $55.
If you have an America the Beautiful national parks pass, you can get free entry to Olympic National Park.
When is the Best Time to Visit Marymere Falls
While the park is crowded during the summer, spring and fall are excellent times to visit ONP. We visited in late April when there were very thin crowds.
While we did see other parkgoers during our trip, we also had lots of stretches of solitude.
If you are interested in seeing the falls at their fullest, go in late winter or early spring when the winter runoff adds to the falls’ volume.
The park is open year-round, but some roads are closed during winter. Check the park’s road conditions before you head out if you’re visiting during the off-season.
What to Wear to Hike Marymere Falls
The trail runs through a cooling forest, so wear layers. You don’t want to overheat, and you don’t want to be cold.
Good to Know: If you want your jacket to pop in photos, bright colors like red, blue, and yellow are easier to see on camera.
For men, these Closed-Toed Walking Shoes will do the trick.
The trail is well-maintained, but there can be muddy puddles that are slippery and slick wooden steps.
I didn’t need the long underwear in Olympic NP in April, but I’ve used them in many national parks.
You’ll also want a good pair of sunglasses, as the trail can be bright at times. I brought a pair of prescription lenses.
Guided Marymere Falls Trail Hikes
The trail is easy to complete on your own, but if you like going on group tours, there are guided hiking trips to Marymere Falls that you can take that will also show you other parts of Olympic National Park:
These tours can sell out early, so reserve your spot in advance.
How to Get to Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls is located about thirty minutes west of Port Angeles in Clallam County.
If you don’t want to bring your own car to Washington state or go on a guided group tour, you can rent a car to pick up at the Seattle Airport.
Make your reservations early, as they can quickly run out of cars.
I use Discover Cars when I travel.
The trailhead is reachable by car or bicycle, though once you are parked you will need to hike to the falls as they are not visible from the street.
Here is how to get to the Marymere Falls trailheads from different Olympic Peninsula cities and towns, plus how to get to Marymere Falls from Seattle and Tacoma.
Good to Know: Estimated drive times listed are to the parking lot at the Storm King Ranger Station.
Port Angeles to Marymere Falls
From Port Angeles take Highway 101 / Olympic Highway.
You’ll pass Maple Grove and Lake Sutherland on your way to Lake Crescent.
Park at either the Storm King Ranger Station or at Lake Crescent Lodge.
Estimated Drive Time: 30 minutes
Port Ludlow to Marymere Falls
If you are staying in Port Ludlow, take Oak Bay Road/ WA-19 to WA-104 to HWY 101.
Once on Hwy 101, you’ll pass Blyn, Sequim, and Port Angeles.
Once you’ve passed Port Angeles, you can use the directions above for Port Angeles to Marymere Falls.
Estimated Drive Time: 90 minutes
From Forks to Marymere Falls
Leave Forks heading north on N/S Forks Ave / Hwy 101.
You’ll pass Beaver, Lake Pleasant, and Sappho.
Park at either the Storm King Ranger Station or at Lake Crescent Lodge.
Estimated Drive Time: 45 minutes
From La Push to Marymere Falls
Leave La Push on WA-110/La Push Rd.
You’ll cross the Bogachiel River and by the Sol Duc River.
Once you’ve reached Forks, you can use the directions above for Forks to Marymere Falls.
Estimated Drive Time: 60 minutes
From Tacoma and Seattle to Marymere Falls
You can choose to take the ferry, but if you prefer driving (like I do), then go south from Seattle on I-5.
When you hit Tacoma, take Hwy 16.
From here, you’ll take the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and cross the Kitsap Peninsula. Near Bremerton, you’ll change to Hwy 3 and drive to Port Gamble.
Leave Port Gamble on Hwy 104 and the Hood Canal Bridge.
Once you’re near Port Ludlow, you can use the directions for Port Ludlow to Marymere Falls.
Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours from Seattle and 2 hours and 40 minutes from Tacoma.
Good to Know: Any time you’re driving from Seattle or Tacoma, your drive time can be affected significantly by ferry waits, traffic, and bridge openings.
Give yourself lots of wiggle room on your ETA, just in case!
Marymere Falls Parking
The parking lot for the Storm King Ranger Station can fill up early from May through September. There are restrooms here and informational signs.
This is also the parking area for the boat launch and one of the most popular photography spots on Lake Crescent, so just because it’s full doesn’t mean the trail will be packed.
However, you will have a more enjoyable hike if you leave early in the morning if you’re traveling during the high season.
There is a parking area at Lake Crescent Lodge if you plan to start your hike from the lodge.
Marymere Falls Hike Trailheads
There are two trailheads for the Marymere Falls Hike. One leaves from Lake Crescent Lodge and the other from the Storm King Ranger Station.
My personal opinion is that the trail from the ranger station is more beautiful, and you can stop by the lodge after your hike if you want to see the beautiful lodge and a different view of Lake Crescent.
Marymere Falls Trail Length, Elevation Gain, and Condition
The Marymere Falls Trail is classified as an easy hike.
If you leave from the Storm King Ranger Station, the trail is a 0.9-mile out-and-back trail. The trail is 1.8 miles round trip.
If you leave from Lake Crescent Lodge, the trail length is about the same, or you can add the 0.6-mile Moments in Time Trail loop for a total of 2.4 miles round trip.
Most of the nearly two-mile hike is an easy walk on well-maintained dirt paths.
Towards the end of the trail, there are two bridges and a set of stairs leading up to the falls. These stairs can get slippery.
The total elevation gain on the trail is about 300 ft.
If you want to extend your walk into a long day of hiking, you can start by parking at the ranger station, walk to the falls, and then follow the signs back towards Lake Crescent Lodge, walk the Moments in Time Trail, and continue walking back to your car via the Barnes Point Trail.
That would be a 4-mile hike.
Marymere Falls Trail Duration
While this is an easy, short hike, your total round-trip hiking time will vary based on your interests.
Most sources list the trail as a 45-50 minute hike.
However, if you want to stop and take photographs, look for new-to-you plant and fungi species, or spend some time appreciating the falls, your time will probably be longer.
We spent ninety minutes on the trail because we stopped to take a lot of photographs and videos along the way.
We also spent extra time, in the end, visiting Lake Crescent and Lake Crescent Lodge, so our total time here was closer to three hours.
Marymere Falls Nature Trail Points of Interest
Leaving the ranger station parking lot, you’ll pass by multiple points of interest before you reach the falls.
Here are some important ones:
The Storm King Ranger Station
While it’s not technically a visitor center, this station is worth a stop to admire its history. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
The Shores of Lake Crescent
A beautiful short walk with Crescent Lake in the distance behind the trees.
Tunnel under Hwy 101
A fun photo opportunity helps you safely cross under the highway.
Old Growth Forest
The woods between the tunnel and Barnes Creek are quintessentially Pacific Northwest. Think of lots of mossy trunks and the smell of cedar and pine.
The turn-off for Lake Crescent Lodge
If you want to complete the longer version by combining multiple trails, you can turn it off here on your return trip.
The turn-off for the Mount Storm King Trail
This four-mile round trip hike is not for the faint of heart.
While you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of Crescent Lake, you’ll also gain over two-thousand feet of elevation over two miles as you climb up Mt. Storm King.
The Barnes Creek Bridge
A beautiful modern wooden bridge over Barnes Creek
The Log Bridge
One of two wooden bridges on this trail, but the only one that is a log bridge. It wobbles a bit as you cross it – but don’t let this scare you!
The Falls Loop
After you cross the Log Bridge, you’ve arrived at Falls Loop, which is a staircase to Marymere Falls.
If you go left, you’ll reach the lower viewpoint first, if you go right, you’ll reach the upper viewpoint first.
Marymere Falls Viewpoints
All of the significant elevation gains on this trail comes at the incline to reach the viewpoints for the falls.
Both the Upper and Lower viewing areas are worth stopping for since you’ll get different angles of the waterfall from these two different parts of the trail.
The lower viewpoint is better for getting photos of you with the falls in the background, but they are both worth stopping for!
Marymere Falls Trail Map
Wildlife to look for Hiking to Marymere Falls
We saw black-tailed deer at Lake Crescent as we came back from our hike, as well as ducks swimming in the lake.
Other species that live in the old-growth forests are black bears, cougars, marmots, and elk.
If you’re an avid birder, there are over 300 species of birds that call ONP home.
Vegetation to Look for on Marymere Falls Trail
The area around Lake Crescent, including the woods near Marymere Falls, are full of Douglas Fir and Bigleaf Maple, two staples of Old Growth forests.
You’ll also see cedar, alder, and hemlock trees as well as a variety of fern.
If you’re interested in wild mushrooms and fungi, be on the lookout for these along your path!
Marymere Falls Photography Tips
This was my main activity on my way to and from the waterfall because I knew I wanted to get as many good pictures of the falls to share here with all of you.
Travel photography is one of my favorite hobbies (though now it’s not just a hobby – it’s a crucial part of this blog!).
But I will fully admit I didn’t have the time or equipment I would want to take gorgeous long exposure photos of the waterfall.
Because I was using my iPhone, I have the option to turn this feature on for photos that I already took as live photos (HEIC), but if you have more time, you can do so much more than I did.
This is a good primer if you want to practice your waterfall photography at Marymere Falls.
Visiting Marymere Falls with Kids, Toddlers, and Babies
This hike is family-friendly, and little hikers who can follow safety directions on the bridges and staircases will have a great time.
If you are hiking with a baby or toddler, you will need a baby carrier. The trail is not stroller friendly all the way to the falls.
You might be able to take a stroller to the Barnes Creek bridge and then switch to a carrier for the Falls Loop, but this would be a PITA. Prepare for your stroller to get muddy.
Good to Know: our family uses this baby carrier for our son when we hike on non-stroller-friendly trails.
Marymere Falls Accessibility
The trail is listed as accessible up to the Barnes Creek Bridge. However, there are roots and potentially mud puddles before this point.
You can visit the guide to the falls on Disabled Hikers for more information about accessibility at Marymere Falls.
Visiting Marymere Falls with Pets
Marymere Falls is not a pet-friendly trail, so no dogs are allowed here. Yes, not even on leashes. Do not bring your dog.
The good news is that there are pet-friendly trails in Olympic National Park:
Peabody Creek Trail
Rialto Beach parking lot to Ellen Creek
The beaches between the Hoh and Quinault Reservations
Madison Falls Trail (Elwha)
Spruce Railroad Trail
July Creek Loop Trail
If you bring a pet on these trails, they must be on a leash at all times, and you must clean up after them.
Things to Do Near Marymere Falls
I’ve already mentioned that you can combine a Marymere Falls hike with other Lake Crescent Trails to spend more time here in nature.
There are other Lake Crescent hikes in the area that you can do as an independent hike after you’re finished with Marymere Falls.
Lake Crescent Hiking Trails
Moments in Time Nature Trail – 0.6-mile loop
Mount Storm King Trail – 4.2 miles plus portions of the Marymere Falls Trail
Barnes Creek Trail – 6 miles (3-mile out-and-back)
Pyramid Peak Trail – 7 miles (3.5 miles out-and-back)
Spruce Railroad Trail – 8 miles (4 miles out-and-back)
Alternatively, you can combine a hike to Marymere Falls with a picnic lunch at Lake Crescent before heading to other parts of ONP like the Hoh Rain Forest or Hurricane Ridge.
More Waterfall Hikes on the Olympic Peninsula
If you want to find more waterfalls in Olympic National Park there are more great ones you can visit:
Donahue Creek Falls
Royal Basin Falls
Sol Duc Falls
Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls
There are also great independent waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula and waterfalls in Olympic National Forest that you can visit, including:
Hamma Hamma Falls
Snow Creek Falls
Willaby Creek Falls
Good to Know: Some of these are accessed via a family-friendly hike, and some are difficult multi-day hikes. Check the hikes independently before you decide to do one.
Frequently Asked Questions about Ludlow Falls (FAQ)
These are the questions most often asked about visiting Marymere Falls.
How long is the Marymere Falls hike?
The Marymere Falls Trail is 0.9-miles out and back and is 1.8 miles round trip.
Do you need a pass for Marymere Falls?
Yes, you will need an entry pass for Olympic National Park or an Interagency NPS pass.
Which is better Marymere Falls or Sol Duc Falls?
They are very different kinds of waterfall experiences, so you can’t compare them to each other. If you have time to do both, go for it!
Can you swim in Marymere Falls?
The water here is very cold and fed from glaciers in the Olympic Mountains. I would not be interested in swimming here.
Lake Crescent is also a very cold lake, more suitable for kayaking or row boating than swimming.
While I wouldn’t want to swim in either place, I can’t find any documentation that it’s not allowed.
If you find out more, let me know, and I’ll update this guide.
What is the best season to visit Marymere Falls?
Late winter and early spring are the best for water volume. Spring and autumn are the best for low crowds and cool hiking weather.
How long does it take to get to Marymere Falls?
Marymere Falls is 30 minutes from Port Angeles.
What are the best things to do in the area?
Besides Marymere Falls, highlights of the Lake Crescent area include visiting the boat docks on Lake Crescent, seeing the Lake Crescent Lodge, and visiting the Moments in Time and Spruce Railroad Trail.
When are the falls prettiest?
The falls are the largest in late winter and early spring.
What are some wildlife sightings at Marymere Falls?
Olympic National Park is home to black bears, cougars, marmots, and elk.
While you won’t see all of them on the Marymere Falls Trail, always keep your eyes peeled for wildlife – especially the kind you need to keep your distance from.
What is the elevation change of the Marymere Falls hike?
Marymere Falls Trail has an elevation gain of 300 feet.
What is the best time to see the falls?
The best time to visit is when you can enjoy the trail with great weather and smaller crowds. Spring and autumn are the best times to enjoy the trail without the throngs of other parkgoers.
Is the Marymere Falls hike accessible?
The falls are accessible for the first 0.5 miles but are not accessible after that. Round trip, you can hike 1 mile on accessible trails.
Which Visitor’s Center is closest to Marymere Falls?
The Storm King Ranger Station is staffed in the summer, but it’s not technically a Visitors Center.
The closest Olympic National Park Visitor Center is located by the ONP park sign at the end of Hurricane Ridge Road.
Address: 3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362
5 Things to Pack for Olympic National Park
A Packable Down Jacket – everyone in our family has one. They’re light and easy to keep in your backpack or car, but they’re warm enough to make a huge difference if the weather turns cold.
A Lightweight but Durable Backpack – My Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Daypack was a steal for the price. It’s survived 17 national parks as well as trips to Mexico and El Salvador!
It won’t last forever, but it has more than proved its worth so far.
A Pair of Binoculars for parks where I’m going to be looking for wildlife. I use these binoculars, and my husband has a separate pair.
A Portable Charging Bank in case my phone dies. Having a portable charger for your phone is crucial.
This is a safety issue as my offline maps may be the only way to navigate in the park where there’s no cell phone data available, as well as the convenience of being able to use my cell phone camera.
I relied on this heavily during my time in Olympic National Park, as cell phone coverage on the Olympic Peninsula was spotty in places and nonexistent in swaths of ONP.
A Basic First Aid Kit to handle minor issues while you are out. Don’t let a hot spot on your foot turn into a blister, or leave a small cut open to the elements.
I keep a small first aid kit in my backpack at all times when we are on the road.
Where to Stay Near Olympic National Park
You can stay at one of the park lodges or camping grounds, but they do book up very far in advance! Everything on the peninsula books up early (especially in the summer) so always get a room as soon as you can.
We stayed in two towns: Port Angeles and Port Ludlow. Port Angeles is 30 minutes from Lake Crescent – Marymere Falls and Port Ludlow is 90 minutes away.
In Port Angeles, we stayed at the Red Lion Hotel. While I’ve heard other Red Lions in Washington are outdated, ours was renovated and located right on the water!
My room was comfy and clean, and you really can’t beat how close Port Angeles is to Olympic National Park. This was a great choice for a base for exploring the park!
In Port Ludlow, we stayed at the Resort at Port Ludlow. This hotel was one of my favorites that I stayed at near any US national park.
Our dinner at the hotel’s Fireside Restaurant was an outstanding meal in a region already known for great cuisine.
My room was cozy, with a beautiful view of the water and boats in the marina.
Oh, and it had a working fireplace, a large jacuzzi bathtub, and windows in your room so you enjoy them at the same time!
There’s also a golf course if you and your partner are into that sort of thing.
I adored my time at this hotel and hope to make it back one day!
If you are looking for a different vibe, make sure you get a hotel on the Olympic Peninsula and not across the Hood Canal Bridge.
While I love the towns on the other side of the water on the Kitsap Peninsula, you don’t want to be stuck having to cross the bridge each time you want to get to OP.
We spent thirty minutes waiting for the bridge to go up and back!
Good to Know: the OP gets booked up for summer months in advance. Never delay making hotel reservations in this part of the world!
More Washington State Resources
Here are all the resources I have written about travel in Washington state.
Washington State Guides
Olympic Peninsula Guides
Kitsap Peninsula Guides
Tri-Cities and Southeastern Washington Guides
Before You Visit Washington – Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Whenever I go on a trip, I always make sure to get travel insurance!
The company Safety Wing is the travel insurance company I always look to first, and I happily recommend them!
I always make sure to get travel insurance whenever I’m going to be over one hundred miles from home, in large cities where tourists can be the target of pickpockets, and anytime I’ll be doing outdoor adventure or beach activities.
It makes my life easier knowing if something should happen, I’ll be able to take care of it!