Heading west from George Washington Inn and the city of Port Angeles, you quickly leave behind the “rain shadow” of the Olympics and enter the rain forest region of the Olympic National Park. A great hiking destination under old growth timber awaits. You can ramble along park trails beneath towering cedars to a misty, mossy ravine where you will find a foot bridge over the Sol Duc Falls. Make sure you leave time to to enjoy a therapeutic soak in some natural thermal waters back at the Hot Springs. The Sol Duc Falls and Hot Springs have enticed travelers from all over the world for over a 100 years now.
Sol Duc Hot Springs is steeped in Indian legend. As the story goes, two battling dragons ended in a draw on Boulder Peak and retreated in defeat to their caves. The hot springs that we see today are produced by their gushing tears of mortification.
The real story of Sol Duc Hot Springs, however, begins in the early 1880s. Theodore Moritz, an early settler, found an Indian with a broken leg while out hunting. Mr. Moritz took the Indian home and cared for him until he was able to travel. Out of gratitude, the Indian told Mr. Moritz of some curative “fire chuck” (hot water) that bubbles from the ground which the Indians had used for years to cure their ailments. After the Indian had led him to the site, Mr. Moritz returned to build a cabin and to file a claim on the property with the U.S. Land Office. Word spread rapidly and soon people were making the hard, two-day trip on horseback from Port Angeles.
In 1903, Michael Earles, owner of the Puget Sound Mills and Timber Company, accompanied a group of people to the spring–Mr. Earles had been told by his doctor that he was dying and to go to Carlsbad but he was too weak for the journey. The mineral water at Sol Duc cured him. Wanting to create a place where others could also be helped, Mr. Earles purchased the site from Mr. Moritz’s heirs in 1910 and founded the Sol Duc Hot Springs Company. A grand resort consisting of a four-star hotel and sanatorium was built in 1912 but was destroyed by fire four years later.
Today’s resort, not nearly on the same scale, is still one of the most popular thermal spa resorts in Washington State, visited by more than 50,000 people each year. But come enjoy your overnight stay at George Washington Inn where you won’t have to put up with the sulphuric smell of the hot springs.