Olympic National Park - Part 2, SE and Rainforests

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by lcampbell on November 5, 2002

SOUTHEAST – The southeast part of the park includes Dosewallips and Staircase. I have not explored these areas, but they are primarily jumping off points for long backpacking trips. It is quite a long drive to reach these areas from Port Angeles.

RAINFOREST VALLEYS – There are three main rainforest valleys at Olympic National Park. Each gets more than 140 inches of rain per year--that is more than 12 feet! You will be amazed at the ability of vegetation and moss to grow on every surface of everything, not an inch left uncovered. Keep your eyes peeled for elk in these valleys as well. These areas are more readily accessible from a "base camp" of Forks or Kalaloch rather than Port Angeles (although possible with long day trips from PA).
Hoh – This is the most popular rainforest valley. The Hoh Road follows the Hoh River. Before entering the park boundary, you will find numerous state and private campgrounds, a variety of lodging, food and coffee, gift shops, and a great company called Peak 6 that has sporting goods and guided kayaking. Once inside the park, there is another campground, a large Visitor Center with guided ranger hikes and talks, and numerouse trails. You should not visit the Hoh without taking at least a short hike on the Hall of Mosses Nature Trail (0.7 mile loop) or the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 mile loop). The trail that follows the Hoh River is also the climber access to Mount Olympus.
Queets – A 30-minute drive through the rainforest takes you from Highway 101 to the end of the Queets road and the heart of this rainforest valley. At the end there is a Ranger Station, which you will likely find unstaffted most of the time. There is a small secluded campground on the Queets River. The 3-mile Sams Loop Trail is a nice way to see the rainforest without the crowds. The trail up Queets River is only accessible after fording the Queets River, which is best done later in the summer when the water level is safer. There are few visitors to this area of the park, so you will likely find it quiet and serene.
Quinault – There is a great loop drive around lake, but the Quinault area is primarily a backpacking access point. Food and lodging are available in the adjacent town of Amanda Park, and there are private lodges on the lake. This area is one of the lesser visited areas of the park--a great place to find solitude.

Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Olympic Peninsula, Washington, 98362
(360) 565-3130


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