Accommodations and Food
The springs were long known to the native peoples who first lived here, and white settlers were attracted to the area as a place of healing. By 1912, the area had an elegant hotel, theater, bowling alley, a 100-bed sanitorium, plus immaculately landscaped grounds with a golf course, tennis courts, and croquet grounds. A fire, begun by a defective flue, brought this to a crashing halt four years later. As the hotel burned to the ground, a short circuit caused the player organ to begin playing Beethoven’s “Funeral March.”
Today’s Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (360/327-3583, www.visitsolduc.com, $141–172 d, mid-May–Sept. only) isn’t quite so lavish, but it does have a restaurant, grocery store, and gift shop, plus cabins (some with kitchenettes). A two-night minimum applies on holidays.
Outdoor lovers may prefer to pitch a tent at the Park Service’s Sol Duc Campground ($12), open all year, but sometimes closed in the winter months due to flooding. Between July and Labor Day, park naturalists offer evening programs in the amphitheater some evenings.
Partway between Sol Duc and Forks, Bear Creek Motel (15 miles northeast of Forks in the town of Beaver, 360/327-3660, www.hungrybearcafemotel.com, $50–85 d, $20 RV, $7 tent) makes a good stop for Olympic loop adventurers who just can’t bear to drive past another mile marker.
The Hungry Bear Café (5 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) here also makes a handy mealtime pitstop.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition