Each spring, I've celebrated a sort of personal Independence Day when I toss the camping gear in the car and head west for the Olympic National Park Coast; flying solo. I pitch the tent, rain or shine, in the park, prepare myself some fine campsite cooking, and enjoy being on my own in the tall trees of the forest. Ever since my move to Washington State, I've had a great fondness for Olympic National Park.
Weather, weather, weather. Trails can be muddy and slippery so good hiking shoes are essential. It's rarely very hot on the Washington coast - pack for rain but throw in some shorts if you're an optimist.
Bring a swimsuit if you want to take a dip in the lake or use the hotel's indoor pool.
It's a good idea to stop in Forks or Hoaquim (depending on which direction you're traveling) to fill up the gas tank.
Olympic National Park is home to miles of hiking trails that range in terrain from beaches to rain forest to glacier. Backcountry hikers should be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions. Check with the ranger station for more information on trail conditions, permit requirements, etc. This is not just for overnighters. Extended day hikers should also confirm trail conditions.
Accommodations at Quinault Lake Lodge
Peak Season - June 14th - Sept 25th; Value Season: Sept 26th - June 13th* - (*excluding holidays). Rates quoted are in USD and are for single or double occupancy. Kids 5 and under - free. Each additional person - $10. Pets (Boathouse Only) - $10 per pet/per night.
Fireplace Rooms - The best of house, the fireplace rooms offer the same beautiful feel of the historic lodge, with the luxury of a gas lit fireplace and a private lake view. Rooms have a queen-size bed, a queen size sofa sleeper, a gas fireplace, and a view of Lake Quinault with a private balcony or patio. Smoking, or non-smoking available. Rollaway beds available, adjoining rooms also available.
Fireplace Room Rates - Peak Season - $180.00; Value Season - $130.00: Adjoining Rooms - Peak Season - $360.00; Value Season - $260.00 - Plus 11.2% Sales Tax.
Lakeside Rooms - The lakeside unit, a large three-story building with approximately thirty-six room's offer three floors. They offer rooms with either a king-size bed, two double beds, or handicap rooms with a queen bed. All have queen-size sofa sleepers, private bathroom with a tub shower combination. Partial lake view with a balcony. Smoking or non-smoking available. The handicap rooms are on the ground floor and have easy access bars in the bathrooms. Our most modern accommodations, These spacious rooms offer a more contemporary feel, and are most recommended for families! (They are also our only rooms that boast televisions) The "tree house room" so named by our younger guests, these rooms have a partial view of the lake due to the stand of trees between the building and the lake itself. Be sure to watch for the Squirrels, chipmunks, and Stellers' Jays! Traveling with family? These rooms are available with adjoining doors! TV and VCR combos are available in each room.
Lakeside Room Rates - Peak Season - $155.0; Value Season - $105.00; Adjoining Rooms - Peak Season - $310.00; Value Season - $210.00.
Main Historic Lodge Rooms - The Main Lodge built in 1926, has a historic atmosphere. Nestled in the Olympic National Forest at the top of an emerald green lawn, overlooking Lake Quinault. Quaint rooms, with an antique feel, located in the main lodge itself, just a round the corner from the Roosevelt dinning room, the fireplace warmed lobby and the indoor swimming pool. Non smoking only.
Main Lodge Non-View Rooms - These rooms have a queen size bed, or two double beds. These rooms have a tub shower combination, a walk in shower or a claw foot tub. Traveling with family? Ask about our rooms with adjoining doors!
Non -View Room Rates - Peak Season - $115.00; Value Season - $78; Adjoining Rooms - Peak Season - $230.00; Value Season - $156.00.
Main Lodge Room View Rooms - These rooms have a queen size bed, or two double beds, with a view of Lake Quinault. These rooms have a tub shower combination, a walk in shower, or an antique claw foot tub. Non- smoking only.
Lodge View Room Rates - Peak Season - $145.00; Value Season - $105.00.
Boat House Rooms - Boathouse, also known as the Annex, was built in 1923, this rustic unit, has eight rooms with and encircling verandah. Don't forget the family pet! (And a six-foot leash to explore the trails in the Olympic National Forest.) Boathouse non view: These rooms have a non-view, with a private bathroom. Bed arrangements very form room to room, with an average of two to three beds with a futon per room. Non smoking only.
Boat House Room Rates - Peak Season - $110; Value Season - $68.00.
Boathouse Lake View - These rooms have a view of Lake Quinault, with a private bathroom. Bed arrangements do vary with two to three beds, with a futon per room. Non-smoking only.
Boat House Lake View Rates - Peak Season - $125.00; Value Season - $78.00.
Beverly Suite - The only traditional suite fills the entire top floor of the Boathouse. This beautiful room has a full circle view from the forest to the Main Lodge, to Lake Quinault. After leaning your hiking stick against the wall, climbing up the stairs to this treetop room, you will find a spacious room with a table and chairs, a sofa, counter with a sink, beverage refrigerator (and space to plug in your own hot plate) The bedroom overlooking the lake and trees has a queen-size bed, and the private bathroom has a walk in shower. Non smoking.
Beverly Suite Rates - Peak Season only - $250.00.
Room Types - Rates are approximate; Each additional person in a room add $10. hide-a-beds $10, Children 5 and under no charge. Check in is 2 p.m. and check-out is 11 a.m.; 72 hour cancellation notice required or a 100% penalty charge. Reservations confirmed only with credit cards.
Townhouse Suites - (Units 1, 2, 3, 4) - $60/double (winter) $75/double (spring) . $104/double (summer). These are nicely appointed 2-story units, that include bath and shower, small refrigerator, 16' ceilings, ceiling fans, color TV, all with a beautiful lake view. Choose from a combination of queen, double and twin beds. Each unit sleeps 4.
Studio Kitchenette - (Units 5, 6, 7) $50 double (winter). $60/double (spring) $89/double (summer). Recently renovated, with fully-equipped kitchenette. Each unit features a double bed, day bed couch, dining table and wicker chairs, and bathroom with shower, all with a beautiful lake view.
Two Bedroom Kitchenettes - (Unit #8) $60/double (winter). $75/ double (spring), $104/double (summer). Unit #9 $70/double (winter) $80/double (spring), $109/double (summer). These units are recently renovated, fully-equipped kitchenettes. Unit #8 features a queen and a maple double bed, original knotty pine walls, armoire, bathroom with shower and a beautiful lake view. Unit #9 features king and queen beds, maximum privacy and great lake views.
Walk along 50 miles of wild and scenic wilderness ocean shores, or look for the rare Roosevelt elk in the backcountry. The park was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1976, and a World Heritage Site in 1981. The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1994 off the coast of the Park, as the first National Marine Sanctuary in the Pacific Northwest, and the 14th in the system.
Within its 3,000+ square miles lies a marine ecosystem that supports whales, seabirds, fish and shellfish. The area is managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries, Washington State Parks, the Makah, Quileute, Hoh and Quinault tribes, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Other Olympic National Park Accommodations or unique resorts near the park, include:
Kalaloch Lodge, Sol Duc Hotsprings, Rosemary Inn and Olympic Park Institute, Seacrest House Motel, Lake Crescent Lodge, The Lodge Cabin Resort.
By Pam Mandel, Seattle Correspondent.