Washington Nature May 13, 2016
This Underrated Rainforest Might Just Be The Most Beautiful Place In Washington
Not only is there one rainforest in Washington – but we’re home to four. Though when most people think of our rainforests, the Hoh is usually the first one that comes to mind (after all, it is home to the
Hall of Mosses Trail). But we do have a few others in the Olympic National Park that don’t really get as much recognition as they deserve – one of which is the Quinault Rainforest.
On average, the Quinault Rainforest is drenched in 12 feet of rain a year. With all of the excessive moisture, the old-growth trees are blanketed in emerald-green moss and ferns.
The ancient forest surrounds the glacier-fed waters of Lake Quinault. It remains open all year long to explore, with several hiking trails for all skill levels. The North Fork and Graves Creeks trails offer long, strenuous hikes, while there are short and long routes on the south end of the lake.
There aren't many better ways to relax than by walking through a rainforest. The scenery is so tranquil. You can even find a number of cascades around the area (like Merriman Falls, which can be seen on South Shore Road).
Wildlife is pretty common around here as well. During your trip, you may be able to spot Roosevelt elk, geese, birds, as well as banana slugs.
As you walk among the towering trees, you'll be able to tell why the area is known as "The Valley of the Rainforest Giants." It's home to several record-size trees of all different types, including: Western Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, and five of the ten largest Douglar-firs in the world.
Pictured is the World's Largest Western Red Cedar - which can be found along the Quinault Big Cedar Trail. The massive tree is estimated to be about 174 feet tall and nearly 19.5 feet around.
Lake Quinault Lodge offers a cozy, rustic place to stay overnight on the south shore of the water. They even have a totem pole rain gauge in the back, which measures the area's rainfall in feet.
The lakeside lodge has actually had a long, important history. In 1937, President Roosevelt stopped here to enjoy lunch during a trip (and because of this, the room was later re-named as the Roosevelt Dining Room). Less than a year later, he passed a bill to create the Olympic National Park.
They also have
Quinault Rainforest Tours
you can take to really get to know this other-worldly rainforest. The four-hour trip will take you around to some of the best places to snap photos, and explains much more about the fascinating history of the Quinault Valley.
Isn’t this rainforest in Washington just beautiful? Have you been to the Quinault area before?