Share:

Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop

Western Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Start Exploring
Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop

Share:

Advertisement
  • Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Bridge at Gatton Creek in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Gatton Creek Falls in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Gatton Creek Falls in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Deer fern (Blechnum spicant) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Giant Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Giant Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Giant Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Giant Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Gatton Creek in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Old-growth Douglas firs and western hemlocks in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Giant Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
  • Giant Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in the Quinault National Trail System.- Quinault National Recreation Trail System, Gatton Creek Falls Loop
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Old-growth forest with giant Douglas fir species. Gatton Creek Falls.
Cons: 
Commonly very muddy trail.
Advertisement
Region:
Western Olympic Peninsula, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
300.00 ft (91.44 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.90 mi (4.67 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
200.00 ft (60.96 m)
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Any visit to the west side of the Olympic National Park and Forest ought to start with a walk on the well-maintained trails of the Quinault National Recreation Trail System.

From the south shore of Lake Quinault, the trail system departs into some of the most well-preserved and diverse old-growth forest on the entire peninsula. To gain a better understanding of the incredible ecosystem into which you're about to venture, it is best to start on the short but extremely informative Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail. At only 0.5 miles in length, however, you'll likely yearn for more; the Gatton Creek Loop Trail, along with the Cedar Loop Trail, are the next-best places to go.

The walk along Gatton Creek exposes countless small cascades, and the upper reaches of the trail traverses through stands of some of the largest Douglas firs found anywhere on the planet. In fact, the co-champion for largest Douglas fir in the world rests at an undisclosed location just off the trail. Although you won't find this giant, which stands at 302 feet and has a 13-foot diameter base, you will come across many of its cousins that are equally as impressive.

Did you know...

  • Coastal Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is currently the third tallest tree species in the world after coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans), the latter of which are found in southeastern Australia and Tasmania.
  • At 327 feet, the Doerner Fir (previously called the Brummit fir) in Coos County, Oregon is currently the tallest Douglas fir.
  • Prior to European/American settlement and logging, Douglas firs are believed to have been the tallest trees in the world. Reliable accounts documented a 415-foot tree cut down on the north shore of Vancouver, BC in 1902, and less reliable accounts claim a 465-foot tree was cut down in Whatcom County, Washington in 1897.
  • The Queets Fir, located within Olympic National Park, is the other co-champion Douglas fir. It measures 15.9 feet at the base and stands 281 feet tall.
  • Old-growth Douglas fir species can live 500 to 1,000 years.
  • Douglas firs technically are not true fir trees and are often called "Douglas-fir" (with added quotation marks) to correct the misappropriation of the name.
  • Because of its tolerance to sunlight and rapid rate of growth, Douglas fir has come to dominate the timber industry, particularly in areas where clear-cutting is standard practice. Today, more timber is yielded from Douglas firs than any other species in North America.
Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(14 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(34 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
39 Members
Who's Done It
10 Members
Submission by
Team
1266 Adventures Explored
1264 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info