By Douglas Scott
Surrounded by giant Sitka spruce trees, Douglas fir and Western Red Cedar trees, situated next to one of the more pristine lakes and rivers in North America, the Lake Quinault Lodge sits quietly on the shores of Lake Quinault.
Guests enjoy the breathtaking views of one of the wettest areas in the contiguous United States. In 1926, this classic rustic lodge was built in the same style as the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park and the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho, making it perfectly suited for the heavily forested locale. Set in one of three temperate rainforests in the world, the Lake Quinault Lodge has been the destination of tourists and presidents alike.
The Lodge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a true getaway, with the majority of guest rooms lacking a phone, TV or even a radio. For those who want to escape from the hectic city life, the Lake Quinault Lodge is the perfect gateway to wilderness.
The Lake Quinault Lodge has 92 rooms, 16 with fireplaces and only 36 with TVs. While some may miss watching TV, the lodge is located within walking distance to 15 miles of arguably the most beautiful rainforest trails in the region. It’s also home to one of the most picturesque sunset locations on the Olympic Peninsula.
Near the World’s Largest Spruce Tree, across the lake is a huge cedar and all around the area are elk herds, waterfalls and some of the most under-rated forests in America, accessible by over 250 miles of hiking trails. 131 inches of rain may fall annually at the Lake Quinault Lodge, but don’t let the rain dampen your desire to visit. With great hiking, amazing views, fantastic food and unique history, exploring the rainforest is best done at the Lake Quinault Lodge.
FDR Had Lunch Here in 1937
Before Olympic National Park existed, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt toured the Pacific Northwest and the western States. Arriving in Seattle on September 28, FDR worked his way west, stopping in Victoria, British Columbia and then making his way to the Olympic Peninsula. After spending the night in the Lake Crescent Lodge near Port Angeles, he and his group toured the region. Driving through mostly untouched forests from Forks to Lake Quinault, FDR is rumored to have made up his mind to create Olympic National Park while sitting at the Lake Quinault Lodge with then Washington State Governor, Clarence Martin.
The stop at the Lake Quinault Lodge was a little over an hour, but the lunch at the old lodge is something few restaurants can claim happened within their walls. The menu for that day has long since been lost, but the best guess for the meal was salmon or elk as the meat course. The views that day of Lake Quinault were dreary and rainy, typical October weather, but FDR is said to have greatly enjoyed the lodge, the views and the meal.
Lake Quinault Lodge is rumored to be haunted
On August 28, 1924, the original Lake Quinault Lodge burnt down, killing one woman. The cleaning lady, who was stuck in the attic as the fire consumed the original structure, is rumored to now haunt the rebuilt lodge. After the lodge was rebuilt, the attic, in which the woman perished, was transformed into a small conference room. Guests and workers both claim to be able to feel the spirit of the woman in the room, and reports of unexplained activity from around the lodge have been blamed on her. From glasses being thrown off counters in the kitchen, to silverware being placed in odd locations, the activities are widespread. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the unexplained phenomenon is a great conversation starter with staff and other guests.
Best Guest Experiences
The best experience at the Lake Quinault Lodge really depends on the person. From kayak and canoe rentals, scenic boat tours, world renowned hiking and guided tours around the park and to the coast, there are numerous ways to experience the great outdoors. Between hiking in the rainforest and kayaking on the pristine waters of Lake Quinault, nature lovers will enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest at Lake Quinault. Stepping on a trail around the lake is like stepping back in time, far away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Enjoy the towering trees, the majestic, fern-flanked waterfalls and the silence of the wilderness.
If exploring the natural world isn’t your cup of tea, why not enjoy a nice day at the lodge itself? The Roosevelt Dining room is your chance to eat great food in a historic setting. The menu is perfect, featuring local favorites, such as mussels, mushrooms, halibut, trout and salmon, complemented beautiful with a robust wine menu. After taking in a delicious meal, the Lake Quinault Lodge offers an indoor heated pool, dry saunas and a massage therapist to get you completely relaxed.
To find more details on area hiking, visit http://exotichikes.com/lake-quinault-lodge-area-hikes/.
For additional information on the Lake Quinault Lodge, click here.
All photos courtesy Douglas Scott.