Lovers Lane Trail - Sol Duc Falls, Mink Lake Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Lovers Lane Trail - Sol Duc Falls - 6.1 miles
Mink Lake Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||6.1 miles (loop option is equidistant)|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,672' - 1,888' (1,967' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+216' net elevation gain (+545' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Lovers Lane Trail - Sol Duc Falls - 6.1 Miles Round-Trip
The Lovers Lane Trail begins at the Mink Lake Trailhead within the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park. This longer but lightly used approach to Sol Duc Falls is highlighted by magnificent old growth forests, river access suitable for fishing, a challenging ford across Hidden Creek and a scenic bridge over Canyon Creek.
The Lovers Lane Trail can be hiked as an out-and-back, or made into an equidistant loop by using the campground access trail back to Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort:
The trail rises past the Mink Lake Trail split and drops beside the river in an alder and vine maple forest. It levels past the resort with access to gravel bars and the banks before crossing a small tributary (.73 miles : 1695') and passing through a bog on a boardwalk (.9 miles).
The trail edges away from the river and undulates gently in a lux fir, hemlock and cedar forest to the first of several small clearings (1.8 miles : 1,763'). It turns back toward the river and meets Hidden Creek just above its confluence, which must be forded (2.4 miles : 1,830').
This is a voluminous ford that may not be possible during runoff or after heavy rain.
The bridge over Canyon Creek soon follows (2.7 miles : 1,917'), a scenic area that's worth exploring. Social trails lead up to a lively cascade, and downstream to a pair of waterfalls.
The grade steepens past the bridge to the Deer Lake Trail split (2.95 miles : 1,976'), where you'll follow signs to Sol Duc Falls (3.05 miles : 1,888').
A wide bridge spans the 4 prong fall, which drops precipitously into a scenic gorge. To complete the loop, continue past Sol Duc Falls to the campground access trail, which leads back to Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.
- N47 58.225 W123 51.903 — 0.0 miles : Mink Lake - Sol Duc Hot Springs Trailhead
- N47 57.737 W123 51.447 — .73 miles : Cross bridge over tributary
- N47 57.617 W123 51.302 — .9 miles : Wood planks lead over bog
- N47 57.259 W123 50.877 — 1.5 miles : Rolling travel through old growth
- N47 57.100 W123 49.998 — 2.4 miles : Ford Hidden Creek
- N47 57.047 W123 49.613 — 2.7 miles : Cross bridge over Canyon Creek
- N47 57.075 W123 49.246 — 2.95 miles : Deer Lake Trail split
- N47 57.103 W123 49.196 — 3.05 miles : Sol Duc Falls
- The west end of Lovers Lane is a good place to observe salmon. Chinook and coho return in late summer and spawn in late fall, while cutthroat 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 anadromous fish run in every season.
- The forest near Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is a second generation forest, evidenced by its smaller size and the presence of alder. Red alder may grow 3' a year for its first 20 years, which make it ideal for re-establishing cut or burned woodlands.
- Cedar has been called the cornerstone of native northwest coast culture because of its versatile application. Wood was used for everything from structural posts to canoes, while roots and limbs were used for baskets and rope. The inner bark burns slowly, enabling fire to be carried from camp to camp.
- Red Cedar's ability to absorb and release moisture without shrinking or warping is well suited for durable applications in humid climates. The wood's large pores trap air, which helps regulate temperature. Antimicrobial properties combat mold and fungus.
- Western Hemlock bark is high in tannins, which native people used for dyes and cleansing solutions. Hemlock pitch was made into a liniment oil that was applied to chests for colds.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Permits are required for all overnight stays in Olympic National Park. Contact the Wilderness Information Center (360.565.3100) for backcountry camping reservations, permits, and trail conditions. Visit the WIC: 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
- Quotas and Reservations are in effect May 1 - September 30 for the Sol Duc - Seven Lakes Basin area. 50% of sites can be reserved in advance. The other 50% is available first come, first served from the WIC during business hours up to 24 hours in advance.
- Permits for quota areas must be picked up at the WIC, or a staffed ranger station during business hours.
- There's a $5 per person - per night fee to backcountry ca,p in Olympic National Park (children under 15 excluded). If you don't have access to a WIC, or plan to arrive early or late, call the WIC to arrange your permit ahead of time. Self-registration trailheads have forms, permits, and submission boxes.
- Reservations may be made no more than 30 days in advance. Groups of 7-12 people must camp in designated group sites within quota areas.
- Camping is permitted only in designated sites within quota areas. Deviation from your permit itinerary is not allowed in quota areas, except in emergencies. In other areas, permits are not limited.
- Campsites are not individually assigned, but are available to permit holders on a first come, first served basis. Campfires are allowed below 3,500'.
- Food Storage and Bear Canisters: All food and scented items must be secured 24 hours a day. Park- approved bear canisters are required in the Sol Duc - Seven Lakes Basin, Royal Basin, and all along the coast. Other areas may require bear canisters at any time based on wildlife activity, or elevation (e.g. not enough tree cover to hang food safely).
- 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 $25 fee to enter Olympic National Park ($50 annual pass).
- Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.
Directions to Trailhead
The Mink Lake Trailhead is located within the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, 38.4 miles from Port Angeles off of Sol Suc Hot Springs Road.
From Port Angeles, head west on US 101 approximately 28 miles to Sol Duc Hot Springs Road (marked by large NPS sign along highway). Continue 10.8 miles to the Resort entrance. Follow signs to trailhead on far side of lot.
Sol Duc Hot Springs Road is closed seasonally due to weather. Call ahead for road conditions and accessibility.
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798
Visitor Information: 360.565.3130
Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort: 866.476.5382
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