Here’s what to see while visiting Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula.
Lake Quinault, the crown jewel of Olympic National Park, is a stunningly vast expanse of glistening water rippling under a pale blue of a cloudless sky. Last week, we highlighted the rushing Marymere Falls, stately Lake Crescent Lodge and windswept Hurricane Ridge as three can’t-miss destinations when touring Olympic National Park. Here is the second round of places to see while visiting Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula.
Quinault Loop Trail
Meander through the quiet forest via the four-mile Quinault Loop, also known as the Rain Forest Nature Trail. To access this secluded pathway, present a valid Recreation Pass at the Lake Quinault Forest Trailhead; then take a leisurely walk through leaf-strewn woods and across sturdy footbridges. Then, head to the Cascading Terraces Nature Trail, a 0.5-mile walk through the woods whose riverside portion washed out during 2016 flooding.
Lake Quinault Lodge
On the southern side of Olympic National Park lies the majestic Lake Quinault Lodge, a stately chocolate brown chalet framed by soaring emerald trees. Relax in one of the lodge’s elegant Fireplace Rooms and soak in the peaceful stillness of the forest right outside your window when you step onto a private balcony. The lodge boasts a meticulously manicured lawn alongside flowering hydrangea bushes bursting with violet blossoms with the serene Lake Quinault just a stone’s throw away.
Pedal through the Quinault Rainforest on your bicycle and keep an eye open for the Roosevelt elk, cougars and bald eagles which frequent the lush terrain. Then, trek to Merriman Falls, where a torrent of whitewater plunges past ferns and over boulders to shower the slick rocks at the waterfall’s base with foamy spray. Cascade Falls, a silky satin stream which descends gracefully down the log-strewn hillside into Falls Creek, is another nearby beauty worth visiting. After exploring these cataracts, visit the Big Spruce Tree, a towering giant whose 191-foot height, 58-foot circumference and 18-foot diameter make it the world’s largest spruce.
Rain Forest Resort Village
Bring your adventure on the Olympic Peninsula to a close when you visit the Rain Forest Resort Village, a wooded campground where cheery red cabins pop with color against a backdrop of emerald trees. This resort on Lake Quinault’s south shore boasts cozy Fireplace Cabins, many with kitchens and jetted tubs. Satisfy your seafood cravings with a takeout meal from the on-site Salmon House Restaurant & Lounge, which offers tasty appetizers like Quinault buffalo wings alongside an entrée of baked, broiled or blackened salmon.
While staying at the resort village, take the Quinault Rain Forest Loop Drive, a 31-mile loop through the Quinault Valley. Try to catch a glimpse of the bobcats and black bears who roam through the woods during your leisurely two hours driving through the forest.
Visit the best of what the Olympic Peninsula has to offer when you visit these scenic gems.