August 26, 2013 by Deborah W. Trotter
When we visited Olympic National Park a few weeks ago, our home base for the three days was the lovely, historic, elegantly rustic Lake Crescent Lodge. It sits on the shore between the visible enticements of the gorgeous natural lake and the hidden attractions in the deep forest steps away.
One of those attractions is Marymere Falls, an easy mile and a half hike from the Lodge. The first mile is mostly level, a soft dirt trail that takes you through ancient forest, lush with green above and below and mostly shaded no matter the time of day.
Early on, the trail passes underneath Highway 101, but a short distance to either side, any traffic noise is quickly muted by undergrowth and the thick evergreen canopy above. Mostly you are aware of the quiet, pierced by an occasional bird call or ruffled by the gurgling of nearby Barnes Creek.
You are also aware of the denseness of the woods you are hiking through. There is green everywhere.
Tree species include evergreens – red cedar, hemlock, spruce, yew and several varieties of fir – and maples, alder, cottonwood, madrone and willow. The soil, rocks, living trees and dead ones host shrubs, ferns, wildflowers, moss and lichen.
The forest floor is a jumble of fallen trees nursing new growth, and other plants independently thriving in their environment.
You cannot help but sense that there is even more going on in this active community than what you can see as you pass through.
After the trail crosses Barnes Creek on a wooden bridge, it crosses Falls Creek on a narrower bridge and begins to climb, and there are sections of wooden steps built into the path. Soon you come to the waterfall, a delicately beautiful 90-foot cascade, plunging into a small pool below.
An optional loop trail with more wooden steps takes you to a higher overlook.
Return to the trailhead the way you came, and a refreshing dip in Lake Crescent is yours for the taking!