Hike the Quinault National Rainforest Trail
Washington › Lake Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail
Added by Gemina Garland-Lewis
Explore the "Valley of the Rainforest Giants". You'll be hiking through the world's largest spruce tree and Washington state's biggest tree, a Western Red Cedar. There are interconnecting trail networks through the rainforest and along Lake Quinault.
A good place to start out is the Rainforest Nature Trail - there's easy parking available here and you can purchase a Northwest Forest Pass at the trailhead if you don't have one already. It's a good idea to take a picture of the trail map here as well so that you can refer back to it as you go along and create your adventure.
After a quick 0.5 mile Rainforest Nature Loop Trail, head into the forest towards Willaby Creek. About a mile in, you'll come to a junction with the Willaby Creek Trail that heads off to the right. This trail is just over a mile long and will take you to the Big Cedar Tree (WA's largest tree!). Head back the way you came in to rejoin the main trail. Continuing on, you'll cross Falls Creek after 0.7 miles - there's an option to finish your loop here and head left towards the Quinault Ranger Station or continue on for a longer hike.
If you keep on the trail here, you'll soon have another creek crossing at Cascade Creek and see the beautiful Cascade Falls. Not long after the falls, there will be another option to end the loop by heading left to the Falls Creek Campground, or you can continue up into the forest towards Gatton Creek and Gatton Creek Falls. At these falls, you can head left down to Gatton Creek Campground or keep on going straight on towards the world's largest spruce tree, with a circumference of 58 ft 11inches!.
From here (or from any of the aforementioned options along the way that head left towards Lake Quinault), you can walk along the road and down to the lakeshore to complete your loop back to the parking lot you started at. There are some beautiful spots on the lake to watch sunset or have a picnic. The Quinault Indian Nation has also recently lifted bans on public swimming and fishing in the lake, so keep those options in mind for your adventure as well.
Walking back along the lake, be sure to stop in the quaint and friendly Quinault Mercantile. They have a small diner and lots of fun souvenirs and outdoor gear odds and ends (so stop in before your hike if you've forgotten something). They'll also take great care of your post-hike milkshake needs! If you feel like glamping it up a bit more, head across the street to the Quinault Lodge.
- 10 essentials
- Northwest Forest Pass (available at Rainforest Loop trailhead)
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Rain gear - it's the rainforest!
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