North Fork Quinault River – 13.4mi / 21.5km
The hike up the North Fork Quinault River delivers with a lush rain forest, a gorgeous river, and countless feeder streams cascading along the way. You step out of your car and into the green wonderland that is the Quinault Rain Forest.
While the trail starts out on an old road, it narrows into a hiking path at a nice vantage of the river. Huge trees, ferns, moss, and an innumerable array of plant life accompany you all the way up the river. A few cutbanks along the river force the trail to climb up and over them, but the rest of the way is easy hiking. Numerous feeder streams lace their way down in delightful cascades, with Squaw Creek being the most dramatic.
Wild Rose Creek, near Halfway House, has created a large washout that may require getting your feet wet in higher water. Just beyond Halfway House is the lovely Elip Creek and a perfect spot to turn around.
A long 22.2mi/35.8km loop with considerable elevation can be made by climbing up to Three Lakes via the trail just beyond Elip Creek. You’ll follow Three Lakes down past Irely Lake and walk the road back to the trailhead (see Three Lakes for description).
Trailhead: From Hwy 101, turn onto South Shore Road just south of Lake Quinault. Follow the road for 13 miles and take a left onto North Shore Road over the river. Just across the river, take a right onto the gravel road for 3.4 miles to the trailhead at the road’s end.
Elevation Gain: 1,050ft / 315m – Elevation Loss: 1,050ft / 315m