Ancient Groves Nature Trail, Sol Duc Hot Springs Road, Olympic National Park, Washington
Ancient Groves Nature Trail - 0.4 miles
Sol Duc Hot Springs Road
|Round-Trip Length:||0.4 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,540' - 1,540' (1,573' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+23' net elevation gain (+59' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Ancient Groves Nature Trail - 0.4 Miles Round-Trip
The Ancient Forest Nature Trail is located 8.5 miles south of US 101 on Sol Duc Hot Springs Road in Olympic National Park.
This short loop begins on high bluffs over the Sol Duc River and circles a rich composite of old growth forest.
The term old growth typically refers to Douglas fir and western hemlock forests with trees that exceed 200 years old, and have a multi-layered canopy with abundant downed wood and standing dead trees.
Mosses, ferns, liverworts, and decaying matter form a spongy mat on the forest floor, while huckleberry, elderberry, and Oregon grape create a verdant, ethereal understory.
Because pure soil is hard to reach, many seedlings instead germinate on fallen, decaying trees. When the log eventually rots away, a colonnade, or row of trees on stilt-like roots, remains.
The biggest distinction between old growth lowland forests and temperate rainforests is lower rainfall, which can be attributed to valley positioning away from the coast.
Though not technically a rainforest, the Sol Duc River Valley is still considerably moist and laced with cedar and sitka, which are primary rainforest constituents.
- N48 00.238 W123 54.350 — Ancient Groves Trailhead
- The Sol Duc River originates on the north side of High Divide, which separates the Sol Duc and Hoh drainages. The Bogachiel River flows south of the Sol Duc River, joining it near the coast to form the Quillayute River before spilling into the Pacific.
- Chinook and coho salmon return to the Sol Duc River in late summer and spawn in late fall, while cutthroat trout and steelhead run in the fall and winter and spawn into the spring. The Sol Duc River is one of only a few places in Olympic where salmon run in every season.
- A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Olympic National Park except when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore. No license is required to harvest surf smelt.
- A Washington State catch record card is required to fish for salmon or steelhead and they must be accounted for as if caught in state waters. Fishing regulations are specific to site, species, and season. Contact the Park before setting out.
- Recreational fishing in freshwater areas of Olympic National Park is restricted to artificial lures with single, barbless hooks (exceptions may apply).
- The use of seines, traps, drugs, explosives, and nets (except to land a legally hooked fish or dip-net smelt) are prohibited.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $15 fee to enter Olympic National Park ($30 annual pass).
- Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.
Directions to Trailhead
The Ancient Groves Nature Trail is located 8.5 miles south of US 101 on Sol Duc Hot Springs Road.
From Port Angeles, drive 28 miles west on US 101 to Sol Duc Hot Springs Road. Turn left (south) and drive 8.5 miles to the trailhead on the right.
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798
Visitor Information: 360.565.3130
Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131
Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)
Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center
Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877
Quinault Wilderness Information Office