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Your guide to Quinault
All About Quinault
The Quinault Valley in Olympic National Park makes an excellent base for hiking, paddling, and exploring the lush rainforest. Located on the south shore of Lake Quinault, Quinault is home to a few businesses serving the visitors who flock to the scenic area to relax with a view of the lake. Long inhabited by the Quinault Tribe, who took advantage of the abundant food sources the rainforest provides, Lake Quinault saw its first settlers in the late 19th century, and some hiking trails circle by the early homesteads. A totem-pole rain gauge in the center of town emphasizes that this is the wettest spot in the continental United States.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Quinault
Visitors to Quinault need to bring a rain jacket, rain boots, and an umbrella or whatever other gear possible to keep them dry. The area gets more than 140 inches of rainfall throughout the year, though July and August average only around eight days of rain each, compared to 18 or 19 per month in December and January. The rainforest stays relatively temperate, with average summer high temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and winter lows averaging about 40. The coastal climate also means that even the hottest days cool down at night, making a sweater or sweatshirt a minimum requirement even in the warm months.
Top things to do in Quinault
Many visitors come here simply to enjoy the beauty of Lake Quinault and the activities it inspires. If you’re looking to do more than splash around in the water, local outfitters rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. You can also take guided boat tours around the lake, a prime opportunity to view wildlife including bald eagles, osprey, and river otters.
Quinault Rainforest Loop Drive
The 31-mile loop around the lake and along the Quinault River provides a great introduction to the flora and fauna of the area. It takes about two hours to drive straight through, but most visitors take the opportunity to stop for short trails, wildlife viewing, and to take in the scenic lake views and the area's many dazzling waterfalls.
The Kestner Homestead Trail leaves from the Quinault Ranger Station on the north shore of the lake and does a 1.3-mile loop along a creek and then around an old barn, homes, and equipment from a 19th-century homestead. The trail makes a good introduction to the area and wildlife such as elk.