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Lake Wynoochee East Shore Trail

Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal
47.4024, -123.5824 Map & Directions
Length
5.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
800 feet
Highest Point
930 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate
View north up the lake. Joe Hendricks Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Lakes
  • Fall foliage

There is one section of the Lake Wynoochee Lakeshore Trail that can be hiked year-round—a pleasant, interesting hike for all ages, at 6 miles round-trip and 800 feet of elevation gain. Its creeks have bridges; it has road access at both ends; it features flowers in spring and summer, autumn color in fall, and provides a pleasant winter outing in clear weather. Continue reading

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Hiking Lake Wynoochee East Shore Trail

This section of the trail that goes all the way around Lake Wynoochee can be started at a paved road end on the east side of the dam, or at the end of a side road, off gravel Forest Road 2270, a few miles farther north. Start from the north for better views into the high Olympic Peaks at the turning point (a.k.a. lunch time).

Starting the hike from the north end of the route, the trailhead is about 100 yards from the bulletin board at the end of the driving directions below. The trail starts on a narrow footpath heading up a short hill, not in the informal campsite closer to the board. This little hill offers the first of numerous ups and downs. The first mile and a quarter of the trail features two bridges, each preceded and followed by short ascents and descents. In addition to colorful foliage in season, there are groves of old growth hemlocks and fir, giant big leaf maples and occasional majestic cedars. The trail is well shaded, so good for hiking on a hot summer day, too.

As the trail approaches the dam, the path emerges from the forest to a broad cobblestone beach, separated from the tall dam by its float-cordoned intake pool. A giant rusty pipe at the western end of the beach takes on the role of the forest hiker’s usual log, providing a sitting spot for a dozen hikers. It is a great place to have lunch, looking north up the lake, toward the often snowy Olympic mountains.

WTA PRO TIP
When you return to the trailhead, you can visit the Wynoochee Lake shoreline by continuing down the gravel road from the parking area about a quarter mile, to the beach.

Hike Description Written by
Leslie Romer, WTA Correspondent

Lake Wynoochee East Shore Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.4024, -123.5824 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Drive US Highway 12 between Olympia and Aberdeen, exiting just west of Montesano and milepost 10 on the Devonshire Road exit. Follow directions to the Wynoochee River Road, and those toward the Wynoochee Dam. Paving the road to the Dam was completed in 2010, to the great relief of everyone who travels the Wynoochee River Valley.

About 30 miles from US Highway 12, signs for entry into the Olympic National Forest, and for Forest Road 22 appear on the right shoulder. At 32.7 miles, turn left on the Donkey Creek Road, then right onto Wynoochee Lake Road at 33 miles. {If you prefer to start the hike on the cobblestone beach at the south end of the route, follow the one paved road in between.]

Turn right at the sign for Vista Viewpoint and Restrooms and walk a few feet to a clear view of the dam wall and the turbulent flow through canyon at its feet. There are reader boards here offering the history of the dam, as well as its modern operating practices, in addition to well-maintained restrooms.

Retrace your drive to Forest Road 22; turn left on Forest Road 2270 which promptly becomes gravel. Turn left at the first side road, about 2.5 miles from the junction. The side road is bumpy with a few substantial potholes. Park near the Trailhead sign. The nearby Olympic National Forest readerboard sometimes displays a local map and information on wildlife in the area. No other services are provided, so no permit is required.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal

Wynoochee Lake (#878)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula

2nd edition (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/olympic/recarea/?recid=47965

USGS Wynoochee Lake

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Lake Wynoochee East Shore Trail

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