- National Park,
The Quinault Valley is a wilderness gateway to alpine meadows, jeweled lakes and ice-carved peaks. For shorter visits, the valley has a scenic loop drive and short trails through temperate rain forest in both Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest.
Inspired by stories of the untamed Olympic Mountains, the Seattle Press sponsored an expedition to explore the wild core of the Olympic Peninsula. Area tribes routinely used the area for hunting, gathering and travel. In fact, Klallam elders recall how a grandmother took her children across the mountains to visit relatives near Quinault. But to Euro-Americans the interior was a mystery.
The Press Expedition left Port Angeles in December 1889. After many mishaps and nearly starving, they emerged at Lake Quinault six months later. Today, people complete the hike in four or five days.
Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station: accessible restrooms, picnic tables, self-guided nature trails. Open part-time in summer as staffing allows, with information, exhibits, book and map sales. Olympic National Forest and Park Information Station: open daily in summer, weekdays only the rest of the year. Information, wilderness permits and bear canisters. July Creek Picnic Area: tables and accessible vault toilet.
North Fork Campground: 9 sites, pit toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, no water. Graves Creek Campground: 30 sites, picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms (Memorial Day through Labor Day); the rest of the year it has an accessible vault toilet and no potable water. North Shore Road is narrow and not suitable for trailers or large RVs. There are also three Olympic National Forest campgrounds on the south side of the lake.
Required wilderness permits for all overnight backpacking are available at the Olympic National Forest and Park Information Station on the south shore of Lake Quinault, or in Port Angeles and Forks.
Trails at Quinault
Flat 0.5 mile loop through a mossy bigleaf maple grove. Begins across the bridge from the Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station.
Flat 1-mile loop through forest along East Fork Quinault River at Graves Creek.
Trail climbs about 100 feet in 1.1 miles to shallow Irely Lake. It begins .25 mile before the North Fork Campground.
Quinault Big Cedar:
0.2 mile trail that gains 80 ft. elevation to a huge cedar tree. Trailhead is 2.0 miles up the North Shore Road from Highway 101.
Learn about homestead life on this self-guided 1.3-mile loop starting from the Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station.
Trails from the North Fork and Graves Creeks trailheads offer longer hikes. There are also short loop trails and longer more strenuous trails on the south side of Lake Quinault in Olympic National Forest.