Last Updated on: 17th January 2023, 01:23 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.
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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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.
5 Most Popular Olympic Peninsula Tours
Before you dig into all the Olympic Peninsula has to offer, here are the most popular guided tours and day trips:
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.
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.
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.
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!
How to Visit Ludlow Falls
The easiest (and only) way to visit Ludlow Falls is via a half-mile loop trail.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We spotted white trillium and rhododendron flowers, along with old-growth cedars, Douglas firs, sword fern, and licorice fern.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The trail can be a bit tricky to find, so feel free to speak with your accommodations to get directions in person.
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.
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.
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.
However, you’ll miss a lot of the education signs if you go this way. I advise completing a full loop if possible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love buying day hike guides for places where I’m traveling, especially if I’ll be visiting a 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).
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.
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
5 Things to Pack for a Trip to the Olympic Peninsula & 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.
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 World Nomads 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!