As a tourist in the Pacific Northwest, it’s easy to get caught up in typical Seattle activities. However, there is so much more to do and see here, and one of the places you might overlook (but definitely shouldn’t!) is just on the waterfront to the west of Olympia.
Welcome to Grays Harbor County! Our host Gaard Swanson recently took a look around what this beautiful coastal region has to offer including the Lake Quinault Rain Forest. He met up with Jim Carlson, who has lived in the area for 50 years, making him the perfect tour guide for Gaard (and for yourself if you check out our latest section here).
Lake Quinault Rainforest
Let’s start where Gaard and Jim started, in the home of some of the tallest trees in the world! The Lake Quinault Rain Forest is known as the Valley of the Giants for the number of record sized trees found within.
It’s a national treasure with its unique ecosystem, cascading waterfalls (including the 40-foot Merriman Falls), hundreds of miles of hiking trails, stunning wildlife and breathtaking views of Mount Olympus, Lake Quinault, ancient forests, wildlife and much more more.
This majestic lake is surrounded by rainforest trees, creating a wondrous scene at any time of the year.
There is a 30 mile loop that takes you around the lake for an unforgettable experience. So bring your camera, dog, rain gear and whatever else you need to enjoy a fall day near the water!
East of Lake Quinault, Wynoochee Lake is surrounded by towering trees, nearby waterfalls, and breathtaking hiking trails. It is a great place for camping, hiking and world-class salmon fishing.
Lake Quinault Lodge
After all the activities you have done, you need a place to rest at night. Or maybe you just want to relax with a good book in front of a fireplace the whole time. Both destinations are possible at Lake Quinault Lodge, built in 1926 on the shores of Lake Quinault. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this lodge is open year-round and offers 92 inn-style rooms, delicious lake-view restaurants and easy access to outdoor recreation on its doorstep.
Rainforest Holiday Village
This is another wonderful lakefront property to stay at in Grays Harbor County. It is home to the largest Sitka spruce in the world, which stands over 191 feet tall and has a girth of 58 feet. This tree is said to be over 1000 years old! The village has suites, cabins, and campgrounds, so whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it at the Rain Forest Resort Village.
Don’t let this list hold you back as there is SO much to do in Grays Harbor County including hiking, biking, crabbing, fishing, bird watching and paddle boarding! It’s the best kept secret in Washington, and it’s time to unravel that mystery! Grays Harbor County is a truly magical place to visit.