As we’re making our way down 101, the last hurrah of the Olympic Peninsula trip (read parts one and two) will be a ride around the Lake Quinault Loop. The road around the lake is half pavement/half dirt and gravel. A fun mix of twisties-at-speed and off-road exploring are in store.
Lake Quinault is flat-out beautiful. Much like Lake Crescent, the lake is surrounded by steep hillsides which provide an impressive backdrop for photos.
Following the Lake Quinault loop, the pavement ends just as the lake meets the Quinault River and the fun continues through the thick canopies. Along the roadway you’ll pass waterfalls, views of the river and the mountains and the occasional car or SUV.
Things really open up when it’s time to cross the Quinault River. The bridge provided great views of the mountains and gave us a reason to dismount and take a few photos.
North side of Lake Quinault
The Lake Quinault Loop continues around to the north side of the lake. Things get a little more technical as the road tightens and twists up the hillside. Once again we are treated to filtered sunlight through the mossy green canopy.
This “Valley of Rainforest Giants” contains the world’s largest mountain hemlock, western red cedar, douglas fir and sitka spruce. It also is home to the largest yellow cedar and largest western hemlock in the United States. If you’re into big trees, this is the place for you.
The roadway opened up just before we returned to the lake for another great panorama view of “Colonel Bob” (4,492 feet) the mountain in the center of this photo.
After all that dust, I’m ready hose off. But first, I’ll need to get out of Aberdeen and back to Seattle. The 100 mile trek on highway is a small price I’m happy to pay to have had two full days of fun on the Olympic Peninsula. Matthew, since he lives in Port Townsend, he gets to ride up 101 along Hood Canal. Lucky duck.