Where To Walk in the Rain in Grays Harbor

a wooden arch over a trail with forest on either side
The entrance to the Weatherwax Trail on Overlake Street in Ocean Shores has enough parking for about six vehicles. Photo credit:Jennifer Rawlins

One of the wonderful things about Grays Harbor is our moderate, coastal climate, which makes it a perfect place to enjoy year-round outdoor recreation. Whether you’re up for a challenging hike in the rainforests in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains or want to take a leisurely stroll along the Pacific Ocean to watch a winter storm, Grays Harbor County has got it all. Here are some of the best places to walk in the rain in Grays Harbor.

Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Cosmopolis

There’s no need to travel out of town to find a good walking trail. Many of the local parks have family and dog-friendly walking trails. Check out Basich Trail (The Cosi Trail), Makarenko Park and Mill Creek Park in Cosmopolis, Elton Bennet Park in Hoquiam, and The Stewart Memorial Park Trail and the Lake Swano Trail in Aberdeen.  

The Sandpiper Trail

The Sandpiper Trail at the Grays Harbor Wildlife Refuge is a particular gem. Located in northeast Hoquiam, the 1.9 mile out-and-back walking trail extends into the salt marshes of the estuary and is a well-known spot to view and photograph shorebirds. 

Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge Sandpiper Trail is a 1.9-mile trail with a small loop at the end and then a return along the same path. Photo credit: Rebecca Sanchez

East County

Grays Harbor’s east county generally encompasses north and south of McCleary, Elma and Montesano. While walking and hiking opportunities are plentiful, here are some of the most well-known areas to enjoy a walk in the rain.

Lake Sylvia State Park

Located just outside Montesano, Lake Sylvia State Park is a great place to spend the day walking in the rain. Trails include a 0.5-mile ADA-accessible loop and 5 miles of additional walking and hiking trails. Be aware that a Discover Pass is required to recreate at the park.  

Vance Creek County Park

The quick, 0.7-mile Vance Creek County Park loop is paved and stroller and wheelchair friendly. View wildlife and dip your toes in the pond in this easy-to-access walking trail.

person walking a dog on a dirt path through tall trees and a big ferns
The Wynoochee Lake Shore Trail offers hikers and their dogs on leashes views of small streams, waterfalls and lush second growth forest areas. Photo courtesy: US Forest Service

Wynoochee Lake

The Wynoochee Recreation Area boasts many areas for both official and unofficial walking and hiking. The most difficult on the list is the 16-mile Wynoochee Lake Shore Trail, which starts around the lakeshore, goes across a bridge over the Wynoochee River, then leads back down to the Coho Campground in the Olympic National Forest. It’s easy to create your own loop by only travelling partway, and areas of the trail are bicycle friendly.

Ocean Shores and North Beach

When you think of walking in the rain in Ocean Shores, walking along the beach is likely what comes to mind first. There’s no better way to get fresh air and exercise while enjoying the natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean. Winter storms and the King Tides bring some of the most spectacular waves you can see. Check tide charts before heading out and make sure you’re dressed for the weather, then choose a spot along the miles of beaches.

a tide pool with starfish and anemones in it.
Walking Damon Point in Ocean Shores during low tide affords you an up-close view of tide pool life. Photo credit: Jennifer Rawlins

Damon Point and the North Jetty

Damon Point State Park offers up to a 4-mile round trip trail at low tide and is arguably one of the best beachcombing spots in Washington. Whether you make the trek out to Protection Island or stay close to the parking lot exploring the tide pools, Damon Point is a great place to sightsee and walk in the rain.

The nearby North Jetty is a short walk and brings a spectacular view of the waves crashing against the Jetty rocks, especially during King Tides.

High Dune Trail

The new High Dune Trail was built in 2023 and offers an ADA accessible paved walking trail. Park at the Chance a la Mer Beach Approach and enjoy the 0.75 mile walk from the Chance a la Mer Beach Approach to Damon Road with ocean views and interpretive signs showcasing Ocean Shores’ wetlands and wildlife.

paved trail with two white posts and a sign
The new High Dune Trail in Ocean Shores is mostly paved and ADA Accessible. Photo credit: Jennifer Rawlins

Weatherwax Trail

The Weatherwax Trail is part of the Weatherwax Nature Preserve. A 1.2-mile loop under a canopy of majestic trees, the trail offers you glimpses of Duck Lake and sightings of over two dozen types of vegetation, dozens of mushroom varieties, and nearly a 100 different animal species. While not paved, the trail is mostly wide and flat, which makes it a local favorite for families with young children. 

Quinault Rain Forest

Step into a magical wonderland by walking or hiking one of the trails in the Quinault Rain Forest. The Quinault Rainforest Trail on South Shore Road in Lake Quinault is a quick, nature-packed 0.9-mile loop and is a gateway to larger trails and the Olympic National Park.

When you’re in the area, make sure to visit the Quinault Big Sitka Spruce Tree Trail. The 0.4-mile out-and-back trail has a veritable treasure at the end in the form of the World’s Largest Sitka Spruce tree.

Westport

Bottle Beach State Park

Located conveniently off of Highway 105 between Aberdeen and Westport in Grays Harbor, Bottle Beach State Park offers a unique experience with a 0.7-mile ADA Accessible Interpretive Trail that leads out to the beach, which was aptly named for the plethora of sea glass that washes ashore. While the park is known for its open tide flats and abundant bird watching, you can find driftwood, agates, shells, and of course sea glass on the beach.

Remember to bring your preschooler’s coat or sweatshirt when at the Twin Harbors State Park. Even in the summer the wind can be chilly near the ocean.

Twin Harbors State Park

Spend the weekend camping at Twin Harbors State Park. You can walk the miles of beach and dune grass trails while using the park as a stepping-off point to explore the other area trails.

Westport Light State Park

Enjoy spectacular views of the Ocean and Westport’s Lighthouse while walking in the rain on the concrete paved, ADA-compliant boardwalk at Westport Light State Park.

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