Adventure, camping, Destinations, hiking, history trips, Pacific Northwest United States, road trips, United States

Olympic National Park: A walk through the Quinault Rainforest

Quinault Rainforest
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Olympic National Park is  huge and there’s so much to see and do, that it can be hard to plan an itinerary that doesn’t leave out something monumental. On the bright side, it just means you have to keep coming back to experience the magic. Quinault Rainforest is a little slice of rainforest heaven, but visitors tend to overlook it because it is dwarfed by the magnificence of the HOH Rainforest, which is one of the most popular destinations in the park. Popular destinations are not usually our thing, so instead, we’re taking you on a little journey through the Quinault Rainforest.
Quinault Rainforest

First stop, the Kalaloch Big Cedar. This 1,000 year-old tree came to the end of its life last year during a raging storm. We’re so glad we were able to give it some love before it came crashing down. The Quinault Big Cedar is still standing strong and just a short hike from the road. We didn’t get a chance to visit, so if you make the trip, please say hello from us.
Big Cedar in Quinault Rainforest

Next, a short hike (1.3 miles) through the forest and around the 100-year old Kestner Homestead. The park service is restoring the homestead, but when we visited, it was perfectly abandoned. We stopped in at noon and were the first and only visitors of the day. The ranger even sat down and picnicked with us.
Quinault Rainforest

This Kestner Homestead Loop takes you through abandoned farm fields and a blissfully cool forest. If you want to break a sweat, there are plenty of longer hikes with trails from the campgrounds. Check out the Quinault area brochure for more info.Quinault Rainforest

Quinault Rainforest

Quinault Rainforest

Camping in the Quinault Rainforest

There are two campgrounds in the Quinault Rainforest, both first-come, first-served. The Graves Creek Campground has 20 spots that are suitable for RVs up to 21 feet long. A sweet little stream runs through the campground – perfect for toe dipping and splish-splashing.

The tiny North Fork Campground has nine sites and is not recommended for RVs. Looking for solitude? You’ll certainly find it there.

Camping is probably the best (and cheapest) way to explore the Quinault Rainforest, but there a few lodging options as well. We find the best deals on Trivago, specifically Rainforest Resort Village.

Quinault Rainforest

The Quinault Rainforest is ripe for exploring, and is especially nice for families looking to escape the crowds. The best part? It’s just a little sliver of the expansive Olympic National Park, which just might take a lifetime to investigate thoroughly.

Quinault Rainforest

The Pacific Northwest is one of our favorite destinations in all the world. You can read more about our explorations in these posts:

The beautiful Sol Duc Valley in Olympic National Park is a great base for family explorations.

Our favorite family-friendly hikes and campgrounds in North Cascades National Park.

Port Townsend is one of the most awesome little towns in the United States.

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Olympic National Park in the Pacific Northwest area of Washington is huge. Exploring the Quinault Rainforest was one of our favorite family field trips. Here's what you need to know about hiking and camping in this temperate rainforest.

16 Comments

  1. Bob

    We went here last year and also visited this lovely tree. I didn’t know it met its maker until reading this.

  2. Thank you for this gem Tara. LOved the photo of the tree:) That bench under the tree makes me sigh- yes, solitude would be delicious there.

    • Hi Arti,

      We love people, but we usually head to the woods to get away from the constraints of everyday life. This forest is heavenly. I wish the world wasn’t so big, but I guess it means we can all find our own version of paradise. This is mine!

  3. Wow! This place looks amazing. And that tree is just magnificent! Great clicks. 🙂

  4. I’ve visited before, but I would love to see that rusty old truck! And that giant tree = AMAZING.
    –Melissa
    http://www.melissamchee.com

  5. What a unique place to visit!
    Kari
    http://www.sweetteasweetie.com

  6. loved the photos and I liked the way you are informative but also didn’t feel like a book report. Your post felt like you were telling me about your trip over coffee, really enjoyed it. Thanks

    http://www.ourmessytable.com

    • Thanks, John. That was a very helpful comment. It’s kind of what I’ve been aiming for and didn’t even know it.

  7. Great photos. I felt like I was on the walk with you.
    Debbie @ Traveling Well For Less recently posted…How to Fly Free for Two YearsMy Profile

  8. Oh I want to climb that tree! I need to visit that place with my family!

    • That beautiful tree died last year, but there’s another really cool tree nearby that’s even bigger and just as old and lovely.

  9. Great post and pics! Even though I’ve lived in Seattle most of my life, I have never been to the rainforest! Already pinned this!

  10. Wow! I love getting lost in the woods and nature and this rainforest looks absolutely stunning. I really need to explore more of Washington and the Pacific Northwest in general.

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