Lake Quinault - Olympic National Park

Trip Date: 2-24-2008

Features:

  • Olympia Capitol building & Capitol Lake (View)
  • Mud Bay
  • Ed Inlet
  • Nisqually River
  • Chehalis River
  • Aberdeen
  • Grays Harbor
  • Humptulips River
  • Highway 101
  • Quinault
  • Lake Quinault
  • Quinault Lake Lodge
  • Great Waterfall on the North Shore Road
  • Olympic Nations Park Quinault Rain Forest
Hazards:
  • Traffic Congestion I-5 (Tacoma and Olympia)
  • Deer
  • Narrow Roads with Soft Shoulders
  • Mossy Roads in Shaded Areas of Park


Lake Quinault Ride Video

16:9 Widescreen (441Kbps 15.5 MB)
Photo Show

Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads Lake Quinault Washington

Trip Details:

For those of you who have not ridden to Lake Quinault or just road on by while riding the Olympia Peninsula Loop, you will really enjoy this ride. I personally road by Lake Quinault while riding the Loop last summer. I stopped and took Photos from a far but failed  to ride into the lake. This lake is spectacular! This was a great day for a ride but brought sad news as another biker was killed in a accident 10 miles north of Lake Quinault. We were past the news by a passing motorist as we were photographing the lake. This is the sort of news that always gives me an un-easy feeling in the pit of my stomache.  We didn't get details just the fact that there was a ftality accident 10 miles up 101 that involved a motorcyclist.

We left Tacoma at 9:30 Am but not without a stop at the usual Espresso stand. Java keeps me alert and the Mint Mocha's on ice are awesome! We made our way through the traffic congestion of I-5 between Tacoma and Olympia. Once we were on hwy 101 the ride got allot better. Shortly after turning on to 101 we were treated with a great view on our right as we looked over Capitol lake at the Capitol building. The temperature was about 50 degrees and the sky's were partly cloudy. The roads were just starting to dry out from the rain we had the night before. Rides like this that head out to the coast can be hit and miss this time of year as the weather can turn ugly very quickly. this was not the case today. As we made out way up around Eld Inlet we took the turn on to hwy 8. The clouds at this point were sparse and blue sky's began to show. As we rode on the clouds became more sparse and white in color letting us know we were in for a great day. hwy 8 took us past Stratleline ORV Park and on through McClaery, Elma and Satsop. This is a long road with allot of strait road as well as sweeping turns. Watch out for deer in this area. As we road through the Satsop area my eyes were drawn to the 2 massive Nuclear facilities perched up on the South hill of Satsop. I remember long ago the Nuclear power facility was shut down for budgetary reasons I believe.

Hyw 8 become hwy 12 just before Aberdeen. I always enjoy riding through Aberdeen as it's an old logging town. I don't think they do allot of milling these days as whole logs are now shipped over seas and processed there. The ride through Aberdeen took us through town and back on to hwy 101.  101 actually runs right though the town. As we made our way through I couldn't help but notice how small and old the housing is in this town. I also noticed allot of the old warehouse buildings are becoming structurally un safe. At least they appear this way. Some of the buildings housed one or two businesses and the rest is vacant with broken windows or no windows. Time has taken it's toll in this town. On the bright side (if you wish to call it that) they have a Wal Mart and plenty of major chain fast food restaurants. And there is still a few old Taverns that line the streets. Once on the North side of Aberdeen we were back up to highway speeds. We made a short stop to take some pictures of the waterway. a dark cloud slowly rolled over head so we made the stop brief. We rode north on hwy 101 for another 19 miles of pure riding bliss. The sun was shining and the road was full of twists and turns. Most of the turns in this area were long sweeping turns. Riding this stretch of highway is a blast. The wind storms of 2007 and early 2008 really took their toll. We saw large sections of Guard rails that were battered to the ground by falling trees. In some cases the trees fell within feet of each other as they smashed down the guard rail.

Soon we came up on to and crossed over the bridging spanning the Humptulips river. This was about 19.5 miles out of Aberdeen. hwy 101 took us another 17.2 miles to Lake Quinault. This last stretch of road was less on the turns and more on the straits. Although it had less turns the country side was just awesome. The hill tops still had snow on them which demonstrates you really need to watch theRoad-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads Lake Quinault Washington weather in this area this time of year. We turned off 101 in to the Olympic National Park. The road Y's where you can go right into the Rain Forest or left to Lake Quinault. We opted to pass on the forest this time as we were short on time. The road leading to the lake is tree covered and full of tight turns. The road is covered in pine needles and has some mossy areas as well so be careful. As we road through the turns th lake was on our left. This road is called the South shore road. The views of the lake were breathe taking. The water was like a glass mirror reflecting the images of the sky and hills on the other side of the lake. We soon came up on the Lodge where you can get a room and dinner for the night. There is also a gas station (closed down) and a store/diner. The diner hours were week days only. This forced us to look for food further up the road. The scenery was so good we rode about 3 miles past the lake just to see what was out there. Mainly sparsely laid out homes all with great views. What a nice place to live!

We made our way back to the lake where we took a brief break to get some photos. The view from the east end of the lake is the best.Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads Lake Quinault Washington Once back in the saddle we made our way around the south side of the lake and back on to 101. We were getting pretty hungry and decided to stop at a diner/Internet cafe called the LC between the south and North shore on 101. This was a mistake! We sat down and it took close to 15 minutes just to get a menu. There was about 20 people in there and only 2 employees. It appeared the soda fountain was hosed because there were about 6 different 2 liter bottles of pop sitting on the counter next to the fountain. The door to the kitchen was propped open reveling a mess on a table in the center of the kitchen. There were towels on the floor and on the table that appeared it was used as a staging area to make the food. There were open containers of lettuce etc on the table. Things that should be refrigerated. The plates were coming out of the kitchen one to two at a time. It took an hour to get our food. We ordered country fried steaks. The whole time I could here a microwave firing up as the cook was probably trying to re-heat the plates. The food was horrible. It was more like hamburger breaded and fried instead of cube steak. Live and learn.

After our diner experience we headed toward the north shore road. We stopped along 101 to snap some photo's of the lake when a guy in a truck heading the opposite direction pulled up and informed us of the fatality accident that involved a motorcyclist. He stated it occurred about 10 miles up the road. This would explain the two state patrol cars that sped by the diner about 10 minutes apart. My heart goes out to the surviving family and friends of the biker who lost his or her life.

We fired up our wings and headed for the north shore road. The view of the lake on this side was good but much better on the southRoad-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads Lake Quinault Waterfall Washington side. The road was turn after turn with small streams feeding the lake from the hillside on our left. Near the east end of the lake we came upon a small water fall just 15 feet from the road. I had heard there was one so I brought my higher end camera gear and a compact portable tripod. streams and falls are always fun to capture with slow shutter speeds. This makes produces a white cotton candy effect. The photos turned out well and I had fun messing around. It was getting late and the mishap at the diner cut into daylight. We headed back the same way we came. Every twist and turn was as fun as the trip up to the lake. The rest of the trip home was un-eventful with the exception of really bad cagers near Olympia and on to Tacoma. I highly recommend this trip and try and squeeze in the Rain Forest if the days are longer as in summer time. If you do hit the Rain Forest please email me and let me know how it was.

 

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Tacoma, Washington - United States (USA)
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