The Hot Spring:
The Olympic Hot Springs are a series of nice and popular natural pools. There are a total of 21 hot spring sources but only seven are built into soakable pools. This is one of our favorite nearby hot springs (especially to bring first time soakers from Seattle) because of its natural setting, nearby camping, and good water with a variety of temperatures. For some reason the water does not make you feel really good like some springs, but you can get a good sweat and relaxing soak out in the woods. This location was a resort in the past with a road all the way to the springs but the road has washed out in three locations and the area was returned to a more natural state. Now the parking area is a 2.2 mile hike from the springs on the old road.
Of the seven pools the first and the last pools are the best in our opinion. The first pool is nice because it is really hot (about 110 degrees farenheight) with the water bubbling up from the bottom, and it is kinda close to the river for a cold plung. Unfortunately you can not drain and clean this pool but you can syphon the silt out to clean it. There is another pool closer to the river on the downhill side of the trail, that is nice because it is really close to the river with a nice setting but the water is not hot enough at only about 100 degrees. Between this pool and the last there are several sand and gravel pools with varying temperatures but none are over about 103 degrees farenheight. Before you go up the hill to the last pool is the largest pool that is generally full of families and kids.
The final pool that we call the pyxie pool, and maybe the best is up the hill from the family pool. It is a sand and gravel pool with the spring water flowing into the pool from the spring about 10 feet uphill from the pool. The temperature can somewhat be controled by changing the amout of cold water you let in from the small creek on the far side of the pool. Sometimes you control the flow of the creek with rocks and other times there is a pvc pipe that is used to bring the water to the pool. The pyxie pool can also be cleaned by a drain that is in the bottom of the pool, near the far side, and then it can be scrubed using a brush and bucket that is hidden in the bushes nearby. The only negative of this pool is that car carpet floor mats are used to make the bottom soft and to keep the silt content down but it feels kinda nasty.
These pools are very popular during the day especially on the weekend but the camping never seems to be that full. Many times we have gone on the weekend with the parking area full but when we get to the camping area it isn't very full at all. This makes it so at night and in the early morning the pools are quite empty but during the day they can fill up with families and for some reason a lot of Japanese tourists. The camping area is very nice with bear lines for food and outhouses but it is on the oposite side of the river from the springs and up a hill, so there is a little hike every time you want to soak.
Historically these springs were known by the Native Americans along with Sol Duc Hot Springs and were considered holy places. In 1907 William Everett found the springs and began a homestead on the property despite the 12 mile horse ride from Port Angeles. He began to build a resort at the springs and by 1930 when a road was built to the property a bath house, swimming pool and cabins were built. In 1940 the resort burnt down and the government took over the property but continued to let a resort remain by leasing the land. In 1966 the government did not renew the lease ending the resort and by 1972 when the buildings were removed they had colapsed. Today there are no remaining signs of the resort besides a couple pipes near some of the springs that were used to bring the water to the resort.