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Olympic National Park is home to a very accessible waterfall! Madison Falls is a 50-foot waterfall in Olympic National Park and it takes less than 5 minutes to walk to. In this post, we’re going over everything you need to know about visiting Madison Falls.
About Madison Falls Trail
Madison Falls is one of the many popular waterfalls to visit at Olympic National Park. It is located near Port Angeles, so if you’re just getting started on your journey through Olympic National Park, it is a great stop for you!
The waterfall is a short 20-minute drive from the Port Angeles Visitors Center in the Elwha Area of the park. You will follow Olympic Hot Springs Road until the end, where you will find the parking area. Plenty of parking is available at the trailhead, as well as restrooms.
The Madison Falls Trail is a 0.2-mile paved trail with no elevation gain, so it is ADA-accessible. The trail is so short it could be considered a roadside waterfall in Olympic National Park!
As you walk the trail, take scenes of the beautiful mossed trees and the sounds of Madison Creek and the waterfall. Upon arriving at the waterfall, soak in the natural beauty. Madison Falls is 50 feet high and is tucked among mossy trees. It’s no wonder Madison Falls is a popular spot for photographers.
Things to Do Near Madison Falls
During a visit to Madison Falls, make sure to check out the informative signs in the parking lot that describe the area.
Picnic tables are available at Madison Falls, so consider making this stop a place for lunch.
The open field near the Madison Falls trailhead is the site of the late 19th-century Sweet family homestead. The space is now used in the summer for the park’s horses and mules to pasture. The animals help keep backcountry trails in shape by carrying supplies for the trail crew, where motorized vehicles are not permitted.
The parking area at the Madison Falls Trailhead includes an awesome view of the Elwha River! The Elwha River is an interesting waterway in Olympic National Park because the river was once dammed. The dam along the river caused several ecological problems, so in 1992 Congress authorized the dam’s removal. Today, the river is an exciting and rare resource for scientists to study how ecosystems return after dam removal.
If you’re visiting Olympic National Park in the Port Angeles area, don’t miss stopping by Madison Falls. It is a short and well-worth stop!
Visiting Olympic National Park: What You Need to Know
- Entry fee: Olympic National Park requires an entry fee. You can also purchase an America the Beautiful Pass to receive admission to all national parks and federal lands.
- Park policies and permits: Please familiarize yourself with park policies and acquire any permits for camping and backpacking.
- NPS App: Download the NPS App and read more about Olympic National Park amenities, activities, and park alerts such as road or trail closures. You can download the park page to access this information through the app offline.
- Visitor Centers: Check out the park’s Visitor Centers, some of which are only open seasonally or on select days.
- Passport Program: Get a National Park Passport and visit ranger stations to collect stamps. Families can also participate in the Junior Ranger Program to collect special stamps and pins.
- Driving: At nearly a million acres, Olympic National Park is a vast wilderness is one of the largest national parks in the United States. Because of its size, be prepared for a lot of driving from one destination to the other along Route 101, the only major highway circling the park. The scenery in Olympic National Park is stunning, so the drive offers exceptional scenic views.
- Maps: Take a look at maps to get a sense of the park areas and how to get around. Be sure to have a physical map in addition to digital maps like AllTrails while traveling. Phone service is limited depending where you are in the park!
- Park conditions: Leading up to your visit, as well as on the day of your visit, check the current conditions at the park. This includes being aware of weather and other park alerts and conditions.
- Weather: Prepare for cool, rainy weather anytime of the year. Even in the summer, the weather can get cool and rainy. Temperatures and weather conditions vary according to elevation and ecosystems – the summit of Hurricane Ridge could have plenty of snow while it gently rains in the Hoh Rain Forest, and cool wind off the Pacific Ocean can make for a chilly trip to the beach!
- Hiking supplies: Pack lots of food and water for your day trips. Port Angeles and Forks are the only two major towns in the area, so don’t expect to see an abundance of convenience stores or shops where you can buy lunches, snacks, and other necessities. So pack prepared! Check out our what to pack for National Parks guide and what to pack in your hiking day bag for more tips!