The Quinault Valley receives an average of 12 feet of rain per year that maintains the temperate rain forest ecosystem. This short trail is an excellent introduction to some of the lush and dense forest growth in this section of Olympic National Park.
Once you arrive at the ranger station you'll see a sign directing you to the Maple Glade Trail. Because this is a rain forest, be sure to bring your rain gear. If you have a dollar on you, buy the interactive guide at the beginning of the trail. There are stations to stop at along the trail to learn about your environment and surroundings, and you may see elk and cougar, so keep your eyes peeled! You'll walk through lush bigleaf maples and ferns on the first part of the trail. Once you reach Kestner Creek, this is where you'll see more mosses, ferns and spike-mosses growing on the trees. It's a beautiful moss-draped forest. Dominate species are Sitka spruce and western hemlock, but other species grow as well. Many trees are 100 years old. You can see many bigleaf maples on the last part of the trail, but you'll also find nurse logs and dead wood that line the trail. The trail itself can be soggy, so wear appropriate footwear.
If you are looking for more rain forest scenery, be sure to check out the Hoh Rain Forest, located about 60 miles north on Highway 101.