Quinault Rainforest


6094 U.S. 101, Amanda Park, WA 98526

A cluster of ferns in Quinault Rainforest

Quinault Rainforest

Quinault Rainforest, part of Olympic National Park, is on my shortlist of places to visit again. In July 2013 on my way from San Francisco to Boston, I visited this mossy, verdant wonderland in the northwest corner of Washington State. I could have spent a month taking photos there. The park features overflowing ferns, moss growing off giant trees, and numerous other epiphytes that only grow where it rains all the time. Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants in a non-parasitic way. Examples include ferns, mosses, spike mosses, and lichens. It rains almost fourteen feet a year in the park, so the place is very green.

Quinault Rainforest is verdant and amazing

The paths were particularly beautiful because the sunlight shone through the hanging moss and ferns and created a green backlit effect. Much of the lush greenery was brightly dappled. The mixture of shadow and light was spectacular. Many fallen trunks in stages of decay were thick with moss growth. Shades of green were very intense. This place is loaded with ferns and moss.

Quinault Rainforest could have been a lovely home for elves and gnomes

Plants grew from every square inch of the earth. Moss draped from every tree. Light filtered through everything. The park was scenic and postcard-perfect. There are hikes of shorter and longer durations, all radiating out from Lake Quinault in the center. It’s a very family-friendly park. There’s even a seafood restaurant on one edge of the park with a view of the sunset.

More ferns and moss in Quinault Rainforest

Quinault Rainforest

Even more ferns and greenery

Quinault Rainforest

Posted in response to It IS Easy Being Green!

Not your average bear

Bear in Yellowstone

I was driving around in Yellowstone when I saw an unpaved road so of course I HAD to take it. An earlier wildfire had burnt down most of the trees and taller vegetation. Lots of wild flowers had grown up over the burnt land. Because it was unpaved, fewer drivers came down this way. I had the place to myself.


I got to go as slow as I wanted and eventually I snuck up on a bear. He was just digging away happily in the dirt, totally ignoring me, presumably looking for bugs to eat. I was kinda hoping he was looking for berries. Someone told me that bears often got drunk on the amount of fermented berries in their bellies.

Hoh Rainforest and Quinault Rainforest

I took a road trip across country and stopped at many National Parks, including Olympic National Park. It features unbelievably beautiful lush, mossy rain forests.

In my first post, I confused Quinault and Hoh and called it Qoh! Oops.

This one is Hoh Rain Forest.

Gloomy looming large figures! So much moss.

Hoh Rain Forest

This one is Quinault Rain Forest.

So many ferns! Ferns all the way down.

Quinault Rainforest

Extremely mossy

Another photo from the extremely mossy Olympic National Park in Washington State. I really could have spent a month in this place. So tropical! Everywhere I went it was crazy-thick ferns, moss dripping off giant trees, strange frondy things that probably only grow where it rains all the time.

I love jungles. I want to visit Costa Rica. I’ve been to Mexica, Belize, and Guatemala. Not bad. I would love to see some sloths either in the wild or in captivity. I’m not a big fan of captivity but what are you gonna do, those animals need help. Also they look like muppets. How can you not want to help an animal that looks like a muppet, and moves so slowly.


Just one more thing, Washington State

When I was in Olympic National Park I was getting nervous about how much of the country I had to cover before hitting the east coast. I had spent a good week already going straight north through California, Oregon, and Washington. I did not want to short-change the trip east. The country I had to cover looked pretty large.

I also made a mistake in booking the hotel inside Olympic National Park. I meant to reserve a hotel room in the center of the park, but instead I reserved an RV hookup. Whoops! I didn’t realize this until I drove around the wiggly edges of the park all night through dense fog and arrived at 7am, exhausted. All rooms were booked. My disappointment was almost as bad as my exhaustion. I wanted to take a shower and sleep in the worst way. That is when I developed my second rule of the road trip (first rule involved no hiking with the hood up): don’t drive more than 8 hours in a row, ever.

The guy at the desk took pity on me and tried to book me in the nearest nice hotel, but that was also fully booked, so he booked me at the Hungry Bear Cafe, Motel & RV Park an hour away. It turned out to be very cozy and cute. Each room was its own self-contained cottage. Very reasonably priced. Aside from the hour drive, which I obviously wasn’t keen on, the motel was just grand. I’d stay there again.

Key part of this story is that they lady that ran the motel/diner insisted that I see the very far northwestern point of the peninsula, Cape Flattery, before I head east. I was a little concerned that I would not have time, but there was something terrifically charming about this grandmotherly lady who ran the diner like a champ and gave me inside information about the best local places to see.

“Oh you’ll love it! I know you will!”

So off I went, driving several hours even further west. And… sure enough. First there’s this:

Olympic National Park rainforest

A super-lush gentle forest with an adorable little path goes on for a maybe one or two miles. WHERE DO THEY KEEP THE HOBBITS? Adorable. Just adorable.

Then there’s this:

Whales! Seals! Water fowl! Some kind of… HAWK!

So thank you lady, that was a good find. In terms of ease of hiking, while other parts of the park might be a little more strenuous, this is gentle for all ages and quite picture-book-esque.

Cape Flattery was the farthest northwestern point of the U.S. excluding Alaska. On the way back I was so far north that my cellphone beeped “WELCOME ABROAD!” with instructions for how to dial back into the United States. I had to call AT&T and instruct them to lock off Canadian cell towers. I definitely recommend July as the time of year. I was comfortable in a light jacket. As I got closer to the coast, a thicker jacket.

In terms of booking rooms, my sense is that you need more than a week in advance to get something inside the park for prime-time July. I had no trouble finding something on the edge of the park (such as the Hungry Bear place). Since I was doing a road trip I had to wing it a bit, but under other conditions you might want to plan it out more.

Olympic National Park

Where are the gnomes

It is hard to describe how unbelievably hobbit-like Olympic National Park is in July.

Olympic National Park in July

The thick verdant nature of everything is really hard to capture on camera. I was lucky it wasn’t raining. Everything was covered in moss. Electric poles: moss. Electric lines: moss. Everything: moss. I could imagine houses get quite dingy if you don’t keep them dry. I would not want to live here, I think I’d feel damp too much of the year, but it was quite resplendent mid-July.

It was also not very busy. I hiked Quinault Rain Forest. I must have been happily marching along for two hours by myself without hearing a soul in the world, lah lah, my head meandering about how nice the green stuff is and whether I’ll see an elk, when all of a sudden some dude briskly walks past saying EXCUSE ME. I also had my hood up to keep the bugs off, so I really didn’t hear him coming. Sheesh I nearly had a heart attack. After that I stopped hiking with my hood up.

Epic road trip

San Francisco to Boston, the long way

To get from San Francisco to Boston, I took a six thousand mile circuitous route through many national parks. I started in mid July 2013 from San Francisco, having sold or given away all my furniture, and rolled into the Boston area during rush hour on August 17. I travelled alone because I like to eat on my own schedule, pee on my own schedule, fill the gas on my own schedule. I don’t like chatter in the car while I’m trying to drive. I’m in the zone when I drive. I concentrate. I hiked alone except when there might be grizzly bears. Maybe I’m a loner? I don’t know but I had a blast. I was never afraid. I took precautions regarding wildlife.

My first destination was Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. It was full of evergreens and redwoods typical of the forest you’d see in California. I took a longish hike in new boots, luxuriating in the hot weather outside of the city.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

I hiked Henry Coe State Park

And I took a ton of photos. You can see them here.

I acquired a TICK on my hip sometime during the trip (probably when I squatted to pee off the trail.) I found it hours later and yanked it out, and it tried to craw away. ICK!

There were lovely amounts of wildlife to see and hear. I heard tons of frogs croaking, I heard a very loud turkey gobblin’, I saw a turkey (not sure if it was the same one), Peter saw 5 turkeys himself, we saw deer, and we saw turkey vultures swooping overhead.

The hike was 4.5 miles round trip for me — 2.9 miles to Frog Lake (along Frog Flat Trail), then 1 mile back along Hobbs road (very steep!), then .6 miles back along Monument trail.

Henry Coe State Park