Description - The Quinault region of Olympic National Park is comprised of the North Fork and East Fork Quinault Rivers. Immediately north of the park boundary the rivers merge to form the Quinault River that flows into Quinault Lake and on to the Pacific Ocean. Each of these drainages have their headwaters in the glaciers of the central Olympics.
- The North Fork Quinault descends from Low Divide, which separates the drainage from the Elwha River to the north. The North Fork Quinault Trail follows the path of the river 16.5 miles from Low Divide to the end of North Shore Road. Along the way waterfalls, tall ridges and many tributaries complete the landscape, which ranges from rain forest to alpine terrain.
The East Fork Quinault ascends from the rain forest at the end of Graves Creek Road, to the rugged alpine climate of Anderson Pass, elevation 4,465 feet. At the head of the drainage is spectacular Enchanted Valley, a wide, glacier-scoured area with steep cliffs and waterfalls.
Facilities at the mouth of these drainages include ranger stations, campgrounds and a nature trail. Permits are required for any overnight use of the backcountry. During the summer months rangers are available for consultation at the trailheads.
Recreation - In the Quinault area of the park visitors will enjoy camping, hiking, backpacking, stock packing, boating, fishing and viewing scenery.
Climate - The climate in this region of the park varies with the terrain. The terrain ascends to lofty heights in alpine conditions at the head of the East Fork and North Fork Quinault Rivers. As the rivers descend to their confluence they pass through diverse terrain including subalpine, montane and lowland, conditions to end in rain forest. Precipitation is heavy in each distinct life zone, as the Quinault River lies in the windward Olympic Mountains.
This area is located in the southern portion of the park. The head of the Quinault River begins deep in the central Olympic Mountains at Mt. Seattle and Mt. Anderson, on the North Fork and East Fork respectively. The rivers flow southeastward from their headwaters to merge north of the southern park boundary.