The Hamma Hamma River springs to life from its headwaters on Mount Washington deep in the Olympic Mountains. Carving its way through Olympic National Park, it finally comes to rest at its confluence into Hood Canal—but not before it careens over the thundering cascade that is Hamma Hamma Falls.
Like many other geographical marvels around the Olympic Peninsula, the river (and hence, the falls) were named by the first peoples to inhabit the area, namely the Twanoh, Quilcene, and Skokomish Native American tribes. In native Twana, “Hamma Hamma” means ‘place of giant horsetail plant.’ In fact, giant horsetail (Equisetum telmateia) still grows prolifically in the area and is a tasty, fresh, forgeable edible when ripe.
After navigating the rocky dirt road to the trailhead and a small side trail, a full-blown view of the falls appears through the foxglove and oxeye daisy in the spring and summer. Here the Hamma Hamma River careens over a primary 20-foot drop, then continues almost immediately over a 60-foot drop.
There are a number of excellent perspectives of the falls and the boiling, aerated pool that separates them, though not all of the access trails are well maintained. It is imperative that you exercise caution at all times—the mist and naturally sodden climate breeds slippery, rocky moss and poses a risk to anyone venturing in the area. For the best and least dangerous view of the falls, stick to the bridge that spans the lip of the upper falls.