13 Things to Know Before Visiting Ludlow Falls in Port Ludlow & Hiking the Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail

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Last Updated on: 30th January 2023, 04:58 pm

Ludlow Falls is an easy waterfall hike located in Port Ludlow, Washington.

We ended our weekend on the Olympic Peninsula with a short visit to Ludlow Falls so we could enjoy the lush Pacific Northwest vegetation and cool waterfalls breezes one last time before we drove back to Seattle.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
This short trail was a great finale for our Olympic Peninsula road trip!

Use this guide to plan your hike on the Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail.

This post includes everything you need to know to plan your visit to Ludlow Falls, including details about the falls and the trail, what to wear, when to go, and how to find it.

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13 Things to Know Before Visiting Ludlow Falls in Port Ludlow & Hiking the Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail Tips

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Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide and Viator.

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For English-speaking private airport transfers, book through Welcome Pickups.

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Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.

Good to Know: During this portion of my trip to Washington, I was hosted by the Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission, a nonprofit that promotes tourism to the Olympic Peninsula.

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.

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About Ludlow Falls

Ludlow Falls is a small waterfall that is thirty-three feet tall (sometimes listed as twenty-five feet) that is located on Ludlow Creek.

They are occasionally referred to as Ludlow Creek Falls, though this is not their official name.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
My favorite section of Ludlow Falls

There are several drops and a series of cascades, so Ludlow Falls is longer than most pictures suggest.

You’ll also find that there are downed logs across the falls, which adds to its wildness but make it hard to appreciate the entirety of the falls as one body in the surrounding landscape since they separate the upper falls and lower falls.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
Downed logs separating the upper and lower falls.

The water of Ludlow Creek is brown, but this is not due to pollution from nearby towns. Rather this is the tannic acid from the surrounding wetlands.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
Brown water and white foam

Good to Know: This article is about Ludlow Falls, which is located on Ludlow Creek in Port Ludlow on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.

This is not the Ludlow Falls in Miami County near Dayton, Ohio.

That one is near Greenville Falls, West Milton Cascades, and Charleston Falls.

If that’s the one you’re looking for, you might want to use a combination of these terms for your search.

Things to Know Before Visiting Ludlow Falls + Tips

This should be everything you need to plan your visit to Ludlow Falls.

I am including more information beyond my own trip report, but if I’ve left anything out, please leave your questions in the comments so I can answer them!

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How to Visit Ludlow Falls

The easiest (and only) way to visit Ludlow Falls is via a half-mile loop trail.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
The Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail is the only way to see the falls!

This trail is called the Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail, and it includes amenities like informational signs, benches, and picnic tables to make your visit even more enjoyable.

I have many tips and logistical information about this trail towards the bottom of the post.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
The trail is well-marked and easy to follow!

Good to Know: I don’t believe that biking this trail would be possible, and Trailforks does not list this as one of the biking trails in the area.

5 Things to Do at Ludlow Falls Beyond Hiking & the Interpretive Trail

If you want to extend your visit beyond a short walk and a quick stop at the falls, here are a few activities to do at Ludlow Falls before you leave.

Taking Photographs

This was my main activity at 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.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
You can practice your waterfall photography here!

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 during my relatively quick stop.

This is a good primer if you want to practice your waterfall photography at Ludlow Falls.

Eating a Picnic

Only some folks love photography, but everyone needs to eat! You can pack a picnic lunch (or breakfast/brunch/dinner) to eat at the falls.

There’s a picnic table near the parking lot, but that’s not the best spot to eat your picnic. Instead, wait until you are at the falls themselves.

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Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
There are several picnic tables at the beginning, but this one near the upper falls would be my choice!

There’s a picnic table near the upper falls. While not all seats have waterfall views, everyone will be able to hear the roar of the waterfalls and appreciate the cool forest air.

Remember to bring everything back with you and not to leave any trash along the trails.

Looking for Wildflowers & Local Vegetation

A highlight of our visit to Ludlow Falls was seeing spring wildflowers along with the different kinds of ferns that are common to the area.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
Spotting wildflowers on the way back!

We spotted white trillium and rhododendron flowers, along with old-growth cedars, Douglas firs, sword fern, and licorice fern.

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Cue the fern puns – fern after reading, anyone?

There are signs on the trail to help you identify some of the plants, but even the ones without signs are worth investigating and appreciating!

Watching for Wildlife

While the surrounding area is not a nature preserve, this is a great opportunity to look out for wildlife!

We didn’t see animals during our visit, but I’ve read reports of beaver, trout, and salmon sightings.

Washington - Hood Canal Bridge - Eagle
We didn’t see any animals on our hike but we saw a bald eagle shortly after as we were driving on the Hood Canal Bridge!

We did see a bald eagle flying nearby over the Hood Canal Bridge, but I don’t know what kind of birdwatching is available at Ludlow Falls because of the dense trees overhead.

Meditating and Reflecting

When we were there on a Tuesday morning in April, we saw less than a handful of other people. Far fewer than I saw at the other beautiful waterfalls I visited during my trip to Washington.

This would be a great place to come to sit for meditation, quiet reflection, or prayer.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
There are lots of beautiful places for quiet reflection.

Because I was there in a small group, I didn’t have time to sit on my own.

However, I can tell that this spot, with the cool air and the waterfall’s roar, would make a great place to practice your spirituality or clear your mind.

Ludlow Falls Viewpoints

The trail doesn’t take you to the bottom of the falls. Rather, you climb a staircase that takes you up to the lowest level of the lower falls.

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Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike - Stephanie Selfie
Taking a selfie at the lowest corner of the lower falls viewpoint.

You can keep going up to see the upper falls from a separate viewpoint.

There are fences in place near the falls (but not near the creek below the staircase).

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
The longest portion of the falls I could fit into one picture.

The best place to see as many of the falls at one time as you can is the very corner at the bottom of the lower viewpoint.

Visiting Ludlow Falls with Kids, Toddlers, and Babies

While I visited with a small group of adults, I have hiked short trails like this with my husband and son, so I thought it might be nice to hear about how to visit Ludlow Falls with kids.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
This staircase can get slippery!

Kids who can climb staircases on their own should be fine as long as they can handle the half-mile walk. The trails are covered in bark and do get muddy at times when the weather is wet.

The most dangerous areas are fenced in, but the creek area below the falls is not.

If you want to bring a toddler who can’t handle the distance or a baby who isn’t walking, you will need to carry them in a carrier.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
There’s no fence near the creek below the falls.

We used a carrier like this one for hiking in Mesa Verde when our son was about twenty months old, and it worked great.

It can carry babies and toddlers that weigh 12-45 lbs.

The trail is not stroller friendly and is not wheelchair accessible since there is a staircase and areas where the trail is covered in roots.

Order a carrier for hiking with littles.

Visiting Ludlow Falls with Pets

The falls are pet friendly for dogs that are leashed. Don’t have your dog off-leash, even if trained, as this can cause problems for other visitors in the slippery terrain.

When is the Best Time to Visit Ludlow Falls

While summer is the most popular time of year for visitors flocking to the Olympic Peninsula, summer is not the best time to see the falls since the creek (and thus the creek falls) are drier in summer.

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Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike - Stephanie Selfie
I enjoyed visiting during “jean jacket” weather.

There is more water in the creek in winter, spring, and autumn, while spring and autumn have the best weather.

I enjoyed visiting in spring since we got the added benefit of spotting wildflowers!

What to Wear to Visit Ludlow Falls

You should dress for the weather. If it’s been wet at all, you may find the trails to be muddy and some sections to be slippery.

Our visit was a crisp spring morning. I wore a jean jacket with a tank top and yoga pants, along with sports socks and sneakers with grip.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
Dress for the weather – especially if it’s been wet and rainy!

I did not need full hiking boots or a thicker jacket, though you might want a packable down jacket if visiting in autumn or winter or a rain jacket on a rainy day.

If it’s been very wet or icy, hiking boots might be a better option for the muddy sections.

I also brought prescription sunglasses. If you don’t need prescription lenses, still bring sunglasses to shield your eyes from UV rays.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike - Stephanie Selfie
I was happy to be able to switch from these glasses to sunglasses when it got brighter!

Protecting your eyes is an important component of travel eye care!

You should also wear sunscreen as UV rays can damage your skin even if the weather is overcast.

For my stuff, I brought my Venture Pal 40L which I used as a day bag during my entire time on the peninsula.

El Salvador - Juayua - Stephanie Backpack
This backpack has survived seventeen national parks and trips to Mexico and El Salvador with no sign of stopping anytime soon!

Good to Know: While we didn’t encounter any bugs, and the Washington Trails Association (WTA) lists this trail as having no noticeable bug issues, I have read reports that there are mosquitos during the summer.

I usually pack bug sprag for summer trips, just in case. Mosquitos always find me first!

Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail Hiking Tips & Details

There’s no way to see the falls without experiencing the interpretive trail. Here’s what to expect and how to get the most out of it!

Trailhead Location

The trail can be a bit tricky to find, so feel free to speak with your accommodations to get directions in person.

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Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
Seeing this sign in the parking lot indicates you have arrived!

If you use Google Maps or another map app, the address is listed as:

70 Breaker Ln, Port Ludlow, WA 98365

Turn off Paradise Bay Road onto Breaker Lane. If you come in from Oak Bay Road to Breaker Lane, you should see an RV park.

Once you arrive at the parking lot, the actual trailhead is after a short walk, but it’s well marked. The official distance starts at the trailhead sign, not from the parking lot.

Entry Fee & Parking Pass Information

There is no entry fee or parking pass needed to visit Ludlow Falls. This makes Ludlow Falls one of the best free things to do in Port Ludlow!

The sign in the parking area indicates that this lot is only a temporary entrance; however, the signage is weathered so it’s been here for a while.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
Walking back to an empty parking lot – we had the place mostly to ourselves!

From the parking lot, you can go on a brief two-minute walk to the trailhead through a manicured garden area.

Length & Elevation Gain

The trail is only a half-mile or about four-fifths of a kilometer. The elevation change is about one hundred feet, and most of this is a wooden staircase.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
Most of the hundred-foot elevation gain happens here.

The falls are located closer to the bridge that is on the right side of the loop. If you start out going left, you will see the creek before climbing the stairs to the falls.

You can make your walk slightly shorter by going to the right towards the bridge and returning from this direction instead of closing the loop.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
At the trailhead sign, you can go right or left. We went left.

However, you’ll miss a lot of the education signs if you go this way. I advise completing a full loop if possible.

Trail Condition

In many places, the trail is covered with bark shavings, but it gets muddy in places if the weather has been wet, which is usually has been in this part of the Pacific Northwest.

The Interpretive Signs are easy to read, and the trail is well-marked.

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Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike

There are many amenities like benches and tables that you can use during your visit.

Besides the wooden staircase, the other most notable elevation gain is from the falls. This was the only place where I felt the trail was a bit slippery.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike
This spot was the trickiest for me, but still pretty easy.

Whether you’re looking for a quick jaunt or want to spend a full morning here, you should find the trail easy to walk.

Ludlow Falls Hike vs Walk

This is not a day hike that will fill up your day.

While the WTA lists it as a day hike, even if you do some of the other things to do at Ludlow Falls, you will be pressed to spend more than thirty minutes to a few hours here.

Washington - Port Ludlow - Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail and Hike

In fact, for many, calling this a short hike is silly, and instead, they refer to this short trail as the Ludlow Falls walk.

Whatever you call it, just make sure to add visiting Ludlow Falls to your Port Ludlow bucket list! It’s a beautiful way to spend some time during your visit to the Olympic Peninsula.

Nearby Port Ludlow Hiking Trails

If you want to get out and do more hiking, there are lots of options near Port Ludlow and beyond to other parts of the peninsula.

You can check out this map of Port Ludlow trails to find other places nearby.

Washington - Port Ludlow Village - Sign
Port Ludlow has many miles of trails to explore!

I love buying day hike guides for places where I’m traveling, especially if I’ll be visiting a national park.

If you want to dive deeper into the hiking available nearby, check out the best day hikes on the Olympic Peninsula and the best easy day hikes in Olympic National Park.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ludlow Falls (FAQ)

These are the questions most often asked about visiting Ludlow Falls.

Can you hike at Ludlow Falls?

Yes, though if you are an avid hiker you might want to combine it with other local trails like the Around the Bay trail (ABT).

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Where do you park at Ludlow Falls?

The parking lot has a giant sign for the interpretive trail and a clearly marked path to the trailhead.

What is the elevation of Ludlow Falls?

The Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail gains about one hundred feet of elevation. Most of this is via a wooden staircase.

How long is the hike to Ludlow Falls?

This trail takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on stops. You can spend hours here if you stop to read each interpretive sign, take pictures, and eat a picnic.

What is the parking fee for Ludlow Falls?

Parking at Ludlow Falls is free.

How long is the Ludlow Falls trail?

The trail is 0.5 miles or 0.8 kilometers.

Are there restrooms on the Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail?

I did not see any restrooms during my visit, and I cannot find anything online indicating there is a public bathroom.

Where to Stay in Port Ludlow, Washington

If you will be visiting Port Ludlow from elsewhere, make sure you book a room early!

We stayed at the Resort at Port Ludlow. This hotel was one of my favorites that I stayed at near any US national park.

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We stayed at the Resort at Port Ludlow.

Our dinner at the hotel’s Fireside Restaurant was an outstanding meal in a region already known for great cuisine.

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Local Neah Bay Salmon at Fireside

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!

Washington - Port Ludlow - Resort at Port Ludlow - Room with Fireplace and Jacuzzi
A bathtub with a fireplace view – I texted my sister I found the perfect hotel room setup.

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!

Book your stay at the Resort at Port Ludlow!

Washington - Port Ludlow - Resort at Port Ludlow - Ludlow Marina
The view of Ludlow Marina from my room.

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.

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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!

Washington - Hood Canal Bridge
Waiting for the Hood Canal Bridge to re-open.

Look for more hotel options on the Olympic Peninsula.

Good to Know: the OP gets booked up for summer months in advance. Never delay making hotel reservations in this part of the world!

5 Things to Pack for a Trip to the Olympic Peninsula & Olympic National Park

Along with a good Washington State or Olympic National Park guidebook, make sure to bring the following:

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.

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I have this women’s version. I loved having it at ONP even in late April. My husband has this men’s version. Our son just outgrew this child’s version.

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.

See the Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Daypack on Amazon

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.

Other items to consider: a pocket knife and a water bottle with a filter.

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.

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It makes my life easier knowing if something should happen, I’ll be able to take care of it!

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

Pin this Guide to the Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail for Your Ludlow Falls hike!

13 Things to Know Before Visiting Ludlow Falls in Port Ludlow & Hiking the Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail Tips

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