Rocky Brook Falls

Brinnon / Dosewallips, Washington, USA

About Rocky Brook Falls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time: 10-15 minutes

Date first visited: 2011-08-23
Date last visited: 2011-08-23

Waterfall Latitude: 47.72079
Waterfall Longitude: -122.94167

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Rocky Brook Falls might have been Julie’s favorite waterfall on the Olympic Peninsula.

In addition to exceeding her expectations of what she thought was a relatively obscure and unknown waterfall, she enjoyed the reward for the minimal effort.

Olympic_Peninsula_243_08232011 - Looking up at the attractive Rocky Brook Falls with rock tower right above it
Looking up at the attractive Rocky Brook Falls with rock tower right above it

That said, we weren’t the only ones here as we saw four other people make a visit while we were on our way back to our car.

Nonetheless, it was also very tall (said to be 229ft) while fanning out in rivulets on its descent all while framed by a rock tower above its brink.

The Short Walk

The walk to the Rocky Brook Falls was quite short and easy with the exception of the jumble of rocks at its base for a better view.

The path was easy enough that we were able to bring our baby here (though we didn’t do any rock scrambling with her).

The short walk began from a humble unsigned pullout (see directions below) just west of the small Rocky Creek Bridge.

Olympic_Peninsula_217_08232011 - The benign walking path leading to the base of Rocky Brook Falls
The benign walking path leading to the base of Rocky Brook Falls

There was a small hydroelectric building and some signs giving the appearance that it was forbidden private property.

Despite the private status, we didn’t have issues accessing the waterfall, but I can foresee that it’s up to the whim of the landowner whether or not to allow public access.

Indeed, that trail continued to the right of the building and followed the brook all the way to the rocky base of the falls.

The walk took about five minutes or less in each direction.

Regulated Waterfall?

Even though it required a little bit of rock scrambling at the base of the falls to get the best views, there were signs posted indicating that stream levels can dramatically increase without warning.

Olympic_Peninsula_223_08232011 - An inviting pool at the base of the Rocky Brook Falls
An inviting pool at the base of the Rocky Brook Falls

The two takeaways I got from this sign were the following.

First, we shouldn’t linger too long in the stream (let alone swim at the plunge pool at its base).

Second, that the stream may have a hydroelectric dam further upstream suggesting the falls would be regulated (though this was just a hunch and would need to be verified).

Photographing Rocky Brook Falls

In terms of photography, as you can see from the photos on this page, we might have showed up a few minutes too late for the best photographs because the shadows bisected part of the waterfall when the sun came out.

With such large contrast and without a graduated or split neutral density filter, the shadows would either be too dark or the sunlight parts would be washed out.

Olympic_Peninsula_226_08232011 - This photo was taken a few minutes before the one at the top of this page. Notice the size of the shadows, which suggested that the sun would be overhead had we waited a few more minutes at Rocky Brook Falls
This photo was taken a few minutes before the one at the top of this page. Notice the size of the shadows, which suggested that the sun would be overhead had we waited a few more minutes at Rocky Brook Falls

Had we come earlier in the day, everything would be under shadow and the lighting would be even.

Of course, these parts tend to be rainy or at least overcast and misty so perhaps the conditions in which we visited were more of the exception rather than the rule.

A Second Waterfall?

This happened to be the lone waterfall we visited while in the Dosewallips area.

It turned out that there was a second waterfall called Dosewallips Falls further to the west off the Dosewallips Road, which was unpaved with potholes a couple miles west of Rocky Brook Falls.

Olympic_Peninsula_255_08232011 - West of Rocky Brook Falls, the Dosewallips Road appeared to have disappeared at this river
West of Rocky Brook Falls, the Dosewallips Road appeared to have disappeared at this river

However, that road appeared to have disappeared right at the Dosewallips River. In my mind, there might have been a bridge there could have since been washed out.

If this is indeed the case, I have no idea if there are plans to re-open the road or it will remain in disrepair.

Had the road continued to the falls, it would’ve been another waterfall entry on this website from this area.

Instead, the formerly roadside waterfall now became an 11-mile or so trek in each direction, which was something we weren’t going to do on this trip.

Authorities

Rocky Brook Falls sits on private land in the Brinnon and Dosewallips area in Jefferson County, Washington. The authorities at the Dosewallips State Park want to make it clear that this waterfall does not belong in their jurisdiction. Since we don’t know who the owner is, there is unlikely to be any official authority able to provide current conditions and additional information. That said, I think you can still contact the State Park for current conditions concerning the nearby Dosewallips State Park itself.

Olympic_Peninsula_216_08232011 - The hydroelectric building next to the short walk leading to the base of Rocky Brook Falls
Olympic_Peninsula_229_08232011 - Angled look up at the Rocky Brook Falls
Olympic_Peninsula_249_08232011 - Sign warning against straying onto the creek
Olympic_Peninsula_250_08232011 - As close to the falls as Julie could get without scrambling onto the rocks
Olympic_Peninsula_221_08232011 - Looking right up at Rocky Brook Falls from the rocks at its base
Olympic_Peninsula_254_08232011 - Cars parked at the dead-end at Dosewallips Road

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Rocky Brook Falls is closest to the town of Brinnon on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula roughly 21 miles south of the Hwy 104/US101 junction (Hwy 104 is notable because it’s one of the main highways we took to get to and from the Bainbridge Island/Seattle ferry on this side of Puget Sound).

Once on the small Dosewallips Road near Brinnon, we followed it west roughly 3 miles where there’s a small, unassuming pullout on the west side of the small Rocky Brook Bridge.

Olympic_Peninsula_215_08232011 - Limited informal parking at the short trail to Rocky Brook Falls
Limited informal parking at the short trail to Rocky Brook Falls

As mentioned earlier, there’s a hydro building and some signage about safety to help you identify this unsigned trailhead.

For context, Brinnon was about 63 miles (over 2 hours drive [with a ferry crossing so it’s likely to require more time than this]) west of Seattle.

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Top down sweep of the falls ending at the pool at its base seen from almost directly beneath the falls itself


Bottom up L-shaped sweep of the falls from within the rock pile at the base of the falls


Direct L-shaped sweep of the falls from the bottom up as seen from further downstream within the rock pile at its base

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Tagged with: brinnon, dosewallips, jefferson, olympic, peninsula, seattle, washington, waterfall, rocky creek



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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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