Magical Murhut Falls

A short walk with a big payoff

There is a magical waterfall nestled among old-growth forest. It’s a place to breathe in crisp clean air and see scampering, flying, and crawling wildlife. The hike offers a visual treat of greens so rich and vibrant, they almost look unreal. This is a place that will make you forget that it’s the end of winter because it feels so alive.

While many favorite hiking trails are still covered in snow at this time of year, the lower trails in Olympic National Forest are usually fairly accessible in all but the harshest winter conditions. This is a wonderful time to get out and explore without the summer crowds so you can truly experience the sights, sound, and tranquility of nature.

The short gentle trail to Murhut Falls is a wonderful winter getaway. The hike itself doesn’t require a major time commitment. If the weather turns bad, it’s a quick and easy walk back to your car; but it’s worth making use of rain gear and pressing on to the falls because they are more impressive when it is raining.

Murhut_falls_web3Considered to be one of the best front country waterfalls in the state, Murhut Falls, located just outside the Brothers Wilderness, crashes down 153 feet into two stages down a mossy gorge into a lovely pool surrounded by massive cedar trees.

Built on an old logging road, this trail is one of the easiest hikes in the area, and is perfect for the entire family, including four-legged friends on leashes.

The trail begins on the old road through some second-growth forest. In spring it offers a lovely display of rhododendron blooms.

The trail will narrow, and the forest growth will become older and the feel more primordial.

At .7 miles the trail will veer to the left and begin to climb. This is the only part of the trail that can be considered steep, and it only lasts about a tenth of a mile, so it will be over before you know it.

The sound of crashing water will motivate you to press on well before you catch your first glimpse of the falls. Small children should be kept close on the final ascent, as there is a steep dropoff on the right side of the trail.

Murhut_falls_web4Once you get to the falls, sit and enjoy the view and take a lot of photos. The more adventurous hikers can follow a steep trail down the slope to reach the pools, and cross the creek and climb to the upper falls on the right side.

Even in peak summer hiking season, this trail does not get as much use as the longer, steeper, bigger-name trails in the area.

The town of Quilcene 15 miles to the north provides several family-style dining options, and Hoodsport about 21 miles to the south has good waterfront dining, ice cream, coffee, and wineries that offer tastings.

The days may be shorter, colder, and often grayer, but that doesn’t mean you should stay inside. Winter is a great time to hop in the car and experience the natural beauty of Hood Canal and Olympic National Forest. A hike to Murhut Falls is both inspiring and invigorating.

Good to know

Round-trip: 1.6 miles
Elevation gain: 250 feet
Map: Green Trails The Brothers No. 168
Permit: No permit needed

How to get there

From Quilcene travel on U.S. Highway 101 South for about 16 miles. Turn right toward Duckabush Recreation Area on to Duckabush Road. Follow Duckabush Road/Forest Service Road No. 2510 for 6.2 miles to Forest Service Road No. 2530. Turn right and travel 1.3 miles to the trailhead.

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