So before all this craziness that is currently happening in the world right now, my wife and I took a trip up to the Lake Quinault Lodge as a birthday/anniversary trip and also to just disconnect from the world and enjoy some peace in quiet out in the rain forest. Little did we know all hell was going to break loose a week after we got back.
Every year for our anniversary we try to get away for at least a few days to relax and recharge. Since we moved to Washington a little over 4 years ago the Lake Quinault Lodge is by far one of our favorite places to get away to.
For those of my followers that have never heard of the Lake Quinault Lodge let me give you a little history of the place. The lodge itself was built in 1926 by Seattle architect Robert Reamer who also designed the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. The story wood framed structure replaced an earlier hotel that was built for the Olson family in 1903 and then burned down in August of 1924. The Lake Quinault Lodge is an informal retreat, similar in nature to the Rosemary Inn and Singer's Tavern (also known as the Lake Crescent Lodge). The roughly V-shaped main lodge is centered on a lobby at the angle of the V, with a masonry fireplace as its focus, overlooking the lake. Dormers and a cupola in the steep roof emphasize the central wing. The hotel is a 2-1/2 story wood-frame structure clad in cedar shingles. The extremities of the wings project over sloping ground, creating a three-story facade at the ends. The walls of the upper floor project slightly outward from the ground floor, and are capped with a steeply-sloping roof housing an attic floor. Large expanses of windows face in either direction from the lobby. Two smaller 1-1/2 story wings extend from the reception side, framing the entrance court, with an entry porch at the end of one wing. The interior features expanses of smooth, finished timbers supporting the upper floor, which is itself finished timber. The chimney is decorated with a totem pole-shaped rain gauge that measures rainfall in feet. The Lodge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Unlike the last time, we went we choose to go the first week in March which is certainly during the offseason which lead to it being really quiet with only a few other guests and just added to the peacefulness of the stay. We also booked one of the newer lakeside rooms which also put us further away from most of the guests who were staying in the main lodge. While going in the off-season means you'll have the silence you are looking for it does present some challenges. Lake Quinault and the neighboring "town" of Amanda Park are pretty slim picking when it comes to places to eat.
The Lodge does have a full-service restaurant in the Roosevelt Dining room. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner however if you're on a budget like us it's not someplace your going to eat every meal. This time we choose to have a hearty breakfast there before a day of hiking. If you want a nice dinner overlooking the lake there is also the Salmon House which is where we choose to go this time around and bonus points as they also have a nice relaxed lounge to grab a glass of wine in.
As for activities other than lounging around well, it is pretty much all centered around hiking or going to the beach. Ruby Beach is a pretty quick 45min drive up the 101 and another hour gets you to the Hoh Rain Forest visitor center which is one of the places we headed to this time around. Never having been up to the Hoh we choose to make that our first hiking destination of the trip. With the recent rain, the trails were pretty mushy and in spots, large puddles made passing pretty tough but it was still well worth the trip and I highly recommend it if you are in the area.
Our first Lake Quinault area trail was the 1.0-mile loop of the Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail. It's a pretty easy walk that takes you up overlooking the Willaby Gorge and along Willaby Creek then into the stands of old-growth forest. There are interpretive signs along the way that give you a good introduction to the rain forest.
Picnic bench at the trailhead
As you drive around Lake Quinault you will pass numerous trailheads of all different hiking levels and you will be greeted by all kinds of beautiful things from ancient stands of trees, to elk and eagles and plenty of scenic vistas along the Quinault River. Your free to pick your own adventure which is what we love about going there.
Once you get away from the lake you'll be treated to a mix of forested areas and views along the Quinault River which is just as gorgeous as the lake. Along the way are some great waterfalls and my favorite rusted old pickup truck that looks like it took a real good beating this winter and with the number of downed limbs and the sun's shadows it looked like the forest was trying to swallow it up.
I hope you enjoyed the images from our trip to the rain forest. Happy Exploring to you all.
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