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East Fork Quinault River

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There are 16 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
East Fork Quinault River — Apr 11, 2014 — chase
Multi-night backpack
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Hiked into Enchanted Valley, trail in pretty good shape, lodge starting to fall into river. Saw man...
Hiked into Enchanted Valley, trail in pretty good shape, lodge starting to fall into river. Saw many elk, several goats, two bears, and there were NO bugs at all, beautiful hike.
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Enchanted Valley, East Fork Quinault River, Quinault River-Pony Bridge-Enchanted Valley — Jan 21, 2014 — D.Baxter
Overnight
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail
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Hard to believe I'd never been to Enchanted Valley. When I saw the photos of the Quinault eroding t...
Hard to believe I'd never been to Enchanted Valley. When I saw the photos of the Quinault eroding the banks right against the building I figured I may not get a chance to visit before the river takes it away. But a surprise day off and decent weather gave me that chance! I'd just have to contend with short winter days and cold valley temperatures.

Got up ridiculously early and made the long drive out to the Graves Creek trailhead. I was the only car here, aside from one tent in the campground. I hit the trail at 9:15 with temperatures right around freezing. I made quick time to Pony Bridge, which was slippery from a glaze of ice. Dropping further into the Quinault River valley brought more ice and fog but made for frozen mud and dry feet.

Around noon the fog began to burn off and the damp forest was steaming, giving the place an otherworldly feeling. Combined with the draping moss and giant trees it was an amazingly beautiful area. One particularly large tree had toppled and been recently cut, the diameter of the trunk larger than I am tall! Wow!

There was no bridge or log across Pyrites Creek and the rocks were too slick for me to chance rock hopping. Fording the creek wasn't too bad, only knee deep and ice cold. As I approached the valley I began to see ice on the trail, then patchy snow near the bridge into the valley. I'd packed very light (aside from lots of warm clothes) assuming bare ground. Would I be camping on snow? Thankfully no. Much of the valley was bare with only patches of snow lingering in the shaded areas. Nearly all the camps were melted.

The river was right against the bank beside the Chalet, just like in the recent photos. Hopefully it can hold out awhile longer, barring any major storms! The river was fairly peaceful today. I reached the Chalet around 3pm and still had good light for photos. Leaving my pack on the porch I wandered around a bit. Barely an hour later the sun was dropping behind the ridge. Darn low winter sun! I claimed a spot in the open areas not too far from the Chalet hoping to maximize available light vs camping beneath the trees where it would be warmer. Trade off would also be heavy condensation in the open.

As the sun set temperatures dropped quickly. No valley fog appeared though! I made a token attempt at a small fire but everything was so damp keeping it burning was more trouble than it was worth. I made due with the LED lantern I'd packed in. It was dark so early I just read my book, watched the stars come out, and did some night photography. The area was very peaceful. No people or animals to contribute any sound - just the river. Well, and the huge avalanche that came down around 10pm.

Frost covered the grass and outside of my tent as I turned in. I stayed warm enough in my new used Hexamid tent and 15 degree bag. Temperatures dipped into the high 20s overnight with no wind. Morning brought light but no direct sun on the valley floor. I made coffee, had a hot breakfast, and lounged around awhile watching the brief sunrise. I'd hoped to explore further up the valley but opted to head back instead, leaving that for a spring return trip.
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West Fork Dosewallips River, Dosewallips River, East Fork Quinault River, Anderson Glacier — Aug 30, 2013 — Jon Lee
Multi-night backpack
Features: Ripe berries
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail
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Fufilled a long-held dream of hiking across the Olympics from the Dosewallips, over Anderson Pass an...
Fufilled a long-held dream of hiking across the Olympics from the Dosewallips, over Anderson Pass and through the Enchanted Valley.

Braving a predicted cahnce of rain, I started on the Friday before Labor Day, hoping that the one-day offset woudl insulate me from the bulk of the crowds. It worked well. I started at the washout on the Dosewallips side, passing empty campsite after empty campsite along the way. The trail was clear and in great condition. I arrived at my destination for the night, Diamond Meadows, at around dinner time. It wasn't until well after dinner that one other party arrived.

The next morning, I was up early and struck out for Anderson Pass. The ford at Honeymoon Meadows was an easy hop-across-rocks event. Unfortunately, I was either two weeks too early or two weeks too late, missing both the flower show and the fall colours. On the other hand, I hit the huckleberries dead-on. I tried my best to eat every huckleberry on the trail, but was ultimately defeated by the shear volumes of them. On reaching Anderson Pass, I took the side trail up to the Anderson Glacier overlook, where I had lunch.

After lunch, I descended into the Quinault drainage. It was a gorgeous, sunny day. One thing I noted as I dropped into the valley, though, was how humid it was. Maybe warm sunshine beating down on recently watered rainforest has that effect?

I arrived at the Enchanted Valley camp around 3:00. The hordes of weekend hikers coming in from the Quinault side hadn't arrived yet, so I had a fairly easy time finding a good campsite. I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in the Valley.

The Enchanted Vally Chalet was a really unusual feature. Built in early 1930's as a hotel (13 miles from the nearest road), it was taken over by the park service in the 1939. Since then, it has been used at various times as a hiker accomodation, aircraft spotting station, vandalism magnet, restoration project, emergency shelter, and ranger patrol cabin. There is something special about seeing this historic building nestled in this wild valley.I am so glad that I had a chance to see it, as it is it great danger of being swept away by the river in the near future. Indeed, it looks like the bank of the river is less than 8' from the back corner on the building. A little more erosion and...

Day three consisted of the long, straight-shot down the Quinault River. There were several down trees along the way, through a trail crew was out working to clear these. I was amazed at how much of the valley bottom is alder and maple...must look amazing during the fall. When the trail pulls up and away from the river, the giant conifers take over. Either way, there is a thick coat of moss on everything.


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East Fork Quinault River — Jun 01, 2013 — Banaadirre
Overnight
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail
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Hiked in to O'Neil Creek campground for the first backpacking trip of the year and my first one sinc...
Hiked in to O'Neil Creek campground for the first backpacking trip of the year and my first one since moving up from CA. The trail was a quite muddy with numerous massive mudholes all the way to O'Neil Creek campground. There were a couple blowdowns, but maneuvering around them was easy. We camped at O'Neil and headed back down the next day. The trail head parking lot was packed, which we were quite surprised. We saw over 10 people on the way up and close to 20 on the way back. The campground was full by night time. However, it was a great first trip of the season. We saw a herd of elk about halfway up and a big 5x5 elk drinking from the river while making breakfast before packing up. Great views of snow capped mountains and beautiful views of the river. The country store in Quinault (across from Ranger Station) is great for lunch and staff is super friendly... would recommend supporting their business on the way in or out.
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East Fork Quinault River — Feb 16, 2013 — patrown87
Overnight
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail | Avalanche danger
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We decided we would try and make an overnight into the Enchanted Valley but we wound up short on tim...
We decided we would try and make an overnight into the Enchanted Valley but we wound up short on time. The road to the trailhead is clear and in decent shape, snow is patchy until past Fire Creek after which it becomes more common-- snowshoes are probably a good idea beyond O'Neil Creek. We didn't start early enough and had to stop beyond Pyrite Creek and didn't venture much further. Few minor blowdowns with one massive tree you'll have to skirt around and eventually the massive remnants of a pretty epic avalanche.

Beautiful this time of year-- Elk herd was seen but no black bears, just a few possible tracks. Definitely prepare for winter conditions and snow out this way for the time being and mind the chutes as you get closer to the valley. Bridges were kind of iffy, logs were functional enough to cross I suppose.
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Location
East Fork Quinault River (#5)
Olympics -- West

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Red MarkerEast Fork Quinault River
47.5725689424 -123.569910048
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