The Quinault Rain Forest is one of four rich temperate rain forest canopies that lie within the western side of Washington's Olympic Mountains. The rain forest begins in the Mount Anderson drainage area and continues to the east and the Low Divide drainage to the northwest. The majestic forest follows the paths of the North and East Forks of the Quinault River. These forks meander down the valley and merge into one Quinault River, which enters beautiful Lake Quinault. The Quinault Rain Forest completely surrounds Lake Quinault and provides a scenic and beautiful destination.
Moisture in the form of rain, drizzle and fog, and a valley open to southwesterly winds ensures the continuation of the life of a temperate rainforest. Rainfall in the area is measured by feet and not inches. There is an average of 10 to 15 feet, (120'' - 140'' up to 180'') of rainfall each year. Moisture is evident everywhere you look. Clouds, fog and forest growth help keep temperatures moderate summer and winter. This moisture and moderate temperature ensure plant growth and it is the rainfall that makes this area unique.
Big Douglas firs, western red cedar and pacific silver fir dominate the main forest upper canopy. Adding to this rich dark green are the moisture dependent Sitka spruce and the western hemlock. The forest canopy is open, allowing streams of sunlight to reach the forest floor. These huge conifers along with the big leaf maple and alder along the river bars comprise first impressions for those visiting the Quinault Rain Forest.
The Quinault Rain Forest is home to giant Douglas firs and several Roosevelt Elk herds. The elk are essential to the rain forest community. The elk stay year round in the Quinault Rain Forest, finding sufficient food and shelter. The herds live together in family units and travel to forage in familiar areas. They also travel from one river drainage to another. The elk herds play an integral part in the health and well being of the rain forest community.
Also in the area are black bear, cougar, black-tailed deer, coyote, and many smaller mammals such as bobcat, beaver, river otter, raccoon, reside within the understory of the rain forest canopy. Their tracks are numerous, giving evidence of strong and growing populations.
Bald eagle, golden eagle, osprey, hawk, blue heron, raven and crow are also visible in the area all along the river valley and at Lake Quinault. The eagles are abundant in the winter when there is a good salmon run. The eagles breed during the winter months. There are families of great Blue Heron that hunt along the pools and quiet river waters. Migratory Canadian geese, trumpeter swan, and a raft of smaller birds utilize the Quinault Rain Forest throughout the year.
The Quinault Rain Forest is truly an "enchanted valley'' that offers the visitor an awesome glance into the life of a temperate rain forest. The area has been limited in commercial development due for the variety of landowners.