While not the stunningly magnificent Lake Quinault, Irely Lake is worth the short walk in the woods of the Quinault Rainforest. As a family-friendly hike, this trail is a perfect way to explore the region without getting too far from your comfort zone. This is not a difficult hike and is one that should be done by everyone. With a well-marked trail through old growth timber, to wooden bridges over small, frog-filled ponds, Irely Lake is a great trail for hikers of all ages.
The Olympic National Park’s Irely Lake is underrated, and year-round it is absolutely gorgeous. With a well-groomed trail leading through dense forests and across rustic old wooden bridges, seeing local flora and fauna is a common experience. During the Spring months, bear activity in the area can be quite high, so make plenty of noise along the way. High ferns and moss-covered trees flank the trail, giving hikers a great experience in the Quinault Rainforest.
A highlight during the Spring months is the nesting birds along the lake. Pileated Woodpeckers constantly fly around the lake, feeding their babies located in holes in trees. Across the lake, an osprey nest looms high in the Douglas Fir trees, with the parents swooping down to catch fish and frogs. Irely Lake is a great place for beginning hikers, children and families, so check it out any time of the year.
While Irely Lake may sound like a typical hike to a typical lake, remember that you are hiking in a rainforest region full of awesome, unique sights. If you love taking pictures of huge trees, giant sword ferns, animals and a picturesque lake, Irely Lake is perfect. Since it is also located near the Quinault River, you can add a number of awesome extensions to this route. The trailhead is also on our “LAKE QUINAULT LOOP ROUTE,” which has common sightings of bears, elk, deer, eagles and occasionally a cougar or bobcat.
Irely Lake is a perfect trail for a day where you don’t want to do much hiking, but you do want to see rugged, forested beauty. Check out this trail and the other short day hikes in the region to get a feel for the uniquely beautiful Quinault region of the Olympic National Park. You won’t regret it!
Distance: 2 Miles Round Trip
Elevation Gain: 200 Feet
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