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Go Camping In The Quinault Rainforest

The Quinault Rainforest is an often overlooked part of Olympic National Park in Washington.  Even though this temperate rainforest is just off Highway 101, many visitors pass it by to see the beaches along the coast and more famous Hoh Rainforest near Forks.  This simply means fewer crowds in the Quinault, making it a more quiet, tranquil place to camp.

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Hike along the beautiful Lake Quinault. Photo by Nikki Cleveland.

Old-growth trees draped in moss surround a beautiful glacier-fed lake in the Quinault Rainforest.  The North Shore and South Shore Roads follow around the lake and take you past several trailheads, as well as Rain Forest Resort Village with RV sites available year-round.

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Get lost in the rainforest for a few hours. Photo by Nikki Cleveland.

You can take short nature walks through the woods and along Lake Quinault, or longer, more challenging backpacking trips further into the Quinault Valley.  Many of the trails are just off South Shore Road and some lead past hidden waterfalls like Falls Creek Falls (pictured below).

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Falls Creek Falls. Photo by Nikki Cleveland.

The rainforest surrounds Lake Quinault on the southwest side of Olympic National Park and gets an average of 12 feet in annual rainfall.  Originating in the Olympic Mountains, the Quinault River empties into the lake and flows all the way out to the Pacific Ocean.

In the summer the cool lake water is ideal for swimming, kayaking, and canoeing.  Boat rentals are seasonally available from a concessionaire stand by the Lake Quinault Lodge.

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Glacier-fed Lake Quinault. Photo by Nikki Cleveland.

The historic Lake Quinault Lodge is only steps from the water along South Shore Road.  Its architecture is beautiful and the building itself holds a lot of history.  President Theodore Roosevelt stayed at the lodge in the fall of 1937 just before he established Olympic National Park.  Today the lodge remembers his visit in their “Roosevelt Dining Room” where he enjoyed lunch.

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The historic Lake Quinault Lodge.  Photo by Nikki Cleveland.

There’s also a short trail you can hike near Rain Forest Resort Village to see the World’s Largest Sitka Spruce Tree.  This massive old-growth tree measures 58’11” in circumference, is about 191 feet tall and estimated to be over 1000 years old.

You can park your RV, pitch a tent, or rent a room/cabin in several places around the Quinault Rainforest.  The national forest operated campgrounds are only open during the summer, but the independently owned locations are open all seasons.

  • Rain Forest Resort Village is open year-round along the south shore of Lake Quinault.  They have back-in sites that can accommodate RVs of all sizes and water/electric hookups.  You can also rent a cabin at the village, and enjoy fresh seafood, pasta, and wine with a lakeside view at their on-site Salmon House Restaurant.
  • Quinault River Inn and RV is a short drive from the lake in Amanda Park.  Their RV park is small behind the Quinault River Inn with only five gravel sites and 30-amp power & water hookups.  They are open year-round but do not have a dump station or shower facilities available.
  • Falls Creek Campground has 30 sites for tents, trailers, and RVs up to 16 feet in length.  They don’t have any hookups and will be open from May-September.  Seasonal Willaby Creek Campground also has sites for tents and small RVs/trailers up to 16 feet in length.
  • If you’re not bringing the RV, consider staying in one of the 91 rooms at Lake Quinault Lodge.

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