Wildlife Viewing Areas
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US Forest Service

Westport is a bustling seaport town at the mouth of Grays Harbor. A municipal fishing pier, three large rock jetties, and two state park beaches offer a good viewing of migrating gray whales, harbor seals, California sea lions, brown pelicans, Caspian terns, and other marine birds.
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Quinault Rain Forest and Lakeshore Trails
Description: Explore the Olympic Peninsula’s fascinating temperate rain forest on two relaxing, accessible trails with unparalleled opportunities for viewing wildlife, fish, and scenery. Wander along the gently sloping half-mile Rain Forest Nature Trail, the first 850 feet of which are barrier-free; the trail winds through the fern- and moss-covered Willaby Creek canyon and into towering stands of old-growth firs, cedars, and hemlocks. Or explore the meandering mile-long Lakeshore Trail - connecting nearby campgrounds and the historical Lake Quinault Lodge - through a variety of habitats from dynamic wetlands to coniferous forest along the shore of this glacier-fed lake. There are entry fees for this site: $5 per day or $30 annual.

Wildlife to Watch: On both trails, illustrated interpretive signs help you identify and learn about rain forest trees, wildlife, wildflowers, and ecology.

The abundant birdlife makes these trails a highlight of the new Olympic Birding Loop. In winter, bald eagles roost near the shoreline and trumpeter swans frequent the east end of the lake.

On the Rain Forest Nature Trail, you may see the resident osprey building their nest and bringing food to their young. You may also be entertained by peeping tree frogs, chattering Douglas squirrels, or hearing the mournful call of the common loon at twilight. Keen eyes may catch a glimpse of the Olympic torrent salamander in the cold, clear streams and waterfalls.

At Falls Creek, learn about chinook salmon and steelhead trout and watch them spawn in late fall and early winter. On the Rain Forest Trail, walk 1/4-mile to the lower viewing site to see nesting osprey during the late spring and summer. Continue to the upper viewing site to see panoramic views of the adult osprey bringing fish to the young. Along the trail there are interpretive signs which highlight the plants and animals of the temperate rainforest.

The Lakeshore Trail travels through a wetland and has several viewpoints along Lake Quinault. Continue past Lake Quinault Lodge to Falls Creek to view the waterfall and spawning chinook salmon and steelhead trout in the fall and early winter months. Benches are conveniently located at several viewing sites and interpretive exhibits.

Special Tips: Both trails are accessible year-round, however during the winter, high rainfall can raise the water level of Lake Quinault and make the Lakeshore Trail impassable. High winds can also result in both trails being blocked by fallen trees. Check with the Quinault Visitor Center for current weather and trail conditions.

Other Activities: Naturalist programs and walks are available at both sites during the summer months.

Ownership: USDA Forest Service, Olympic NF, Pacific Ranger District/Quinalt 
Size: N/A 
Closest Town: Quinault, WA

RestroomsParkingTent CampingFishingHikingPicnic tablesBoat LaunchLodgingHandicap AccessibleFeeLarge BoatsSmall BoatsDrinking WaterSwimmingAuto Tour

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Quinault Hike - Photo by USDA Forest Service
Please use Map Link below

Driving Directions:
The trails are located 40 miles north of Aberdeen or 66 miles south of Forks on U.S. Highway 101 on the Olympic Peninsula. At the junction of Hwy 101 with the South Shore Lake Quinault Road turn east and drive 1.4 miles to the Quinault Rain Forest Trailhead. The trailhead facilities and first 850 feet are wheelchair accessible.

The Rain Forest Trail is linked to the Lakeshore Trail by an easy 1/4-mile hike or the Lakeshore Trail can be accessed by driving 1-mile further east and turning left on Lake Lane Road. Parking area is signed and located on the right The Lakeshore Trail provides direct access to Lake Quinault and is wheelchair accessible.

Map Link

Quinault Rain Forest and Lakeshore Trails : Wildlife Viewing Area