The popularity of the Olympic Peninsula is hitting international levels, with pictures of Hurricane Ridge, LaPush and the lush Hoh and Quinault rain forests on television and internet screens across the world. For good or ill, our little corner of the world is becoming a sought after destination. In fact, the Olympic National Park the 7th most popular National Park in America. (LINK: CLICK HERE) Because so many of you have asked, here is one of my favorite, secret places along the Olympic Peninsula. Share this, as the more people that visit, the better trails and roads we can have!
NAME: Sam’s River Loop
LOCATION: Quinault Region (Queets)
MAP: See Below
DISTANCE: 12.9 miles round trip.
– 2.6 mile loop from Trailhead
– 10.3 mile loop from washout to trailhead
ELEVATION GAIN: Minimal
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
PERMIT NEEDED: National Park Permit
Nestled away in the Queets River Valley, this often passed over area is one of the most underrated sections of the Olympic National Park. With no amenities, crowds are almost non-existent, and hikers are more likely to see more elk and bald eagles than people. The trail is mostly flat, weaving through old growth forests and a thick second growth grove of Douglas Fir and Spruce trees along a cold, yet soothing river.
This hike is for those of you who want to get out of the regular grind of hikes, but still want to take it easy and enjoy scenery. While not the most convenient place to go for a day hike, the Queets area gives you beauty at every corner. While the washout makes this a pain, the ability to walk along a road, no longer used with cars, along a river deep in the Olympic Peninsula wilderness is something that words can’t describe. This hike is a must experience for everyone who can make the trek.
Walking along the banks of the river, taking in the lowland river, one can easily fall deeper in love with the outdoors. The Queets River valley is where the origin story of the Quinault Nation is said to have taken place, and hiking through the remote rainforest, you really feel that you have stepped back in time. While the Hoh rainforest may have the fame, the Queets area, along with the Quinault region is where the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park hides her true natural beauty.
The trail, often muddy, because after all, this is a rain forest, is a great educational hike. With large, moss-covered maples and river banks full of elk prints, you will get a fantastic experience for you and your party, under the ridges and crags of Kloochman Rock. With homestead clearing along the trail, complete with blackberries and apple trees, you may find have to fight the urge to try and live here yourself.
The river has caused small washouts in areas along the trail, but a few simple hops between boulders and maybe a wet foot or two is well worth it. Exploring the Queets River area is a fantastic weekend adventure. For the best experience, go with someone who knows the area. Always be prepared, and above all else, come hike here this weekend!
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Lower Queets Road to is washed out 7 miles in, making hikes longer than they normally would be. This is good though, as the area is even more remote!
- If you want, make this a 2 or 3 day trip and explore the area.
- Check with the NPS for Salmon Fishing Regulations
- Go to the Olympic National park’s Giant Douglas Fir tree along the Queets River Trail (2.6 miles one way, after the trek in from the washout)
- Giant Douglas Fir
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK TRAILS
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