Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quinault Lake - Olympic Peninsula

Well marked and well maintained trails let you experience the rain forest, towering old growth and lots of water--both terrestrial and celestial near Quinault Lake

Your first stop should be the Pacific Ranger Station, Quinault office where you can get a trail map and information about trail conditions. The staff may let you park in their lot (depending on the season), where you can start right out on the Quinault Loop Trail from the east driveway of the ranger station. You won't have to go far before seeing one of the many streams that feed the lake. Keep walking and soon you will have spectacular views of the lake. Bring binoculars to see the waterfowl and other bird life inhabiting the area. The portion of the loop trail beside the lake last only .9 mile, but continuing the loop is well worth the effort. The half mile Forest Nature Trail offers more thundering water and interpretive signs on the nature of the nature.

From here, old growth gets a new meaning--you are looking at Sitka spruce 700-900 years old. Take the boardwalk over the cedar bog for a look at more giant trees and cascading streams. The conclusion of the full loop unfortunately requires a short walk on the South Shore Rd. but is well worth it.

To reach Quinault Lake, head toward Aberdeen/Hoquiam and follow Hwy 101 north to South Shore Rd. Look for the large wooden sign for Quinault Lake. Be prepared for plenty of rain--this is the rainforest!

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