Just outside of the Olympic National Park boundary in the Quinault National Forest lies a short, 0.5-mile interpretive loop trail that is a great introduction to the unique old-growth temperate rainforest ecosystem that dominates the Olympic Peninsula and flourishes on the southern shore of Lake Quinault.
A part of the Quinault National Recreation Trail System, the Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail Loop winds along pristine creek beds, through moss and fern ground cover, and between giant old-growth trees that have been standing for centuries. Sturdy interpretive signs with informative illustrations are scattered throughout this short trail, and these are some of the most comprehensive anywhere on the peninsula. Here, you'll learn to tell the difference between Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, western hemlock and western red cedar, why it rains so much, and why the ecology of the forest is so important.
After completing the trail, continue your exploration of the forest on the Cedar Loop or Gatton Creek Falls Loop to see countless waterfalls, marshy groves of western red cedar and some of the largest Douglas firs anywhere.