United States Queets River Trail

4 images 1 contributors

T. Kirkendall and V. Spring

About this spot

The Queets Rain Forest is considered to be the most pristine forest in the park. The difficult access ensures that it is rarely visited and wildlife remain in the valley throughout the year. The access difficulties are the two rivers that must be forded right at the start of the hike. The rivers are usually low enough to be crossed from mid-August through September, except after a major rain storm. Even on dry days, crossing is best in the mornings, when the water flow is at its lowest. By late afternoon the level may raise by several inches. Sams River is crossed first, presenting few challenges as long as some form of footwear is worn. The Queets River is stronger, wider, deeper and a whole lot colder. Note the location of the marker on the opposite side before starting across and do not be surprised when the water level rises above your knees.
Once across, follow the trail into a wonderland of moss covered maples and alders along with huge firs, sky scraping spruce and magnificent hemlocks. Old clearings along the trail were made by settlers who attempted to farm here and are great places to look for elk and deer. Also, pay special attention to the trail, in the clearings animal paths are often more visible than the actual trail. The far side of these clearings are supposed to marked with bright colored tape.
At 2.3 miles, a poorly marked side trail branches of on the left heading to the largest and oldest Douglas Fir tree in the world. Continue on the up the nearly level valley, crossing several creeks and, most likely detouring around numerous downed trees. At 5 miles, arrive at Spruce Bottom Camp. This is an excellent place to turn around. The trail deteriorates the further upvalley you go.

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