Quinault River Washington Fishing, Camping, Rafting

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Quinault River

Emptying into Lake Quinault and eventually reaching the Pacific, the 69-mile-long Quinault River originates in the mountains of Olympic National Park and is suitable for exciting activities like hiking, rafting, and fishing.

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  • Much more isolated than many of the Olympic National Park rivers, the Quinault River is an exceptional place for fishing and is a lovely but rugged place to hike and enjoy local flora and fauna.
  • Guided walks and interpretive trails as well as whitewater rafting provide other ways to explore the area.

What can I see and do at Quinault River? 

Rafting: A Class II river, the Quinault is ideal for a family rafting trip. The rapids are mild enough to not cause too much concern and most of the outfitters that offer floats down the Quinault welcome children from about age 6 and up.

The average Quinault rafting trip from Cannings Creek to South Shore Road takes about 2 hours and is an ideal way to spot native wildlife, like elk, eagles, and osprey. August and September are the best months for whitewater rafting on the Quinault. 

Fishing: If you plan on doing some Quinault River fishing, you’ll need to hire a tribal guide on the area of the river where fishing is most desirable. This is because the land belongs to the Quinault Indian Nation.

Most anglers agree that the best portion of the river to fish is from Lake Quinault and downward and that it should be done via canoe, not from the shores. Trout season begins in mid-May, and during the summer and fall, expect to catch steelhead, small and large Chinook salmon, and – later – cutthroats. 

Hiking: The Quinault is a grand but isolated river, so the opportunity to explore it on foot is very special.

For avid hikers, consider the Enchanted Valley Trail, which takes you along a portion of the river’s East Fork. This is a 19-mile path that will put you in the midst of giant hemlock and fir trees, emerald pools of water, and several horsetail falls.

However, it’s best to understand that this is a very rainy area and that any hiking trails, even the best maintained, can become treacherous in the rain. Always double check conditions before heading out.

Scenic Tours: Members of the Quinault Nation offer guided tours of the area, including a walking tour to the mouth of the river where it meets the Pacific Ocean. The area is extremely picturesque and the walk is suitable for most.

Where is the Quinault River?

Take U.S. Highway 101 to South Shore Road, which is just south of Amanda Park. Follow this road to the Quinault Ranger Station, where you can obtain info about all the options available for exploring the Quinault River area. For activities within the Quinault Indian Reservation, call 360-276-8215 for specific directions.