When we booked a trip for late September and early October to Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks, we knew we had better be ready for rain. We managed to luck out for the first several days of our trip in Mount Rainier. As we watched the forecast for the Olympic Peninsula, the forecast got rainier. But as each day turned over to the next, the forecast cleared just enough for us to get some hiking done. We explored Ruby Beach and got settled into a sketchy rental in Forks the first day. As the forecast pushed the anticipated morning rain to the afternoon, we decided to grab the sun we could and we headed out to Rialto Beach for a coastal hike. Then we made our way down to Kalaloch Campground to see the Tree Root Cave, or the Tree of Life as it is sometimes called.
The rainy weather finally came in but we were determined to get a taste of Olympic rainforests. They’re supposed to be rainy, right? So why not get the full experience. The road to the Hoh Rainforest was closed for construction during our visit so we set out for the rainforests of the Quinault Fork area. The drive out to East Quinault Fork was just delightful. On this drizzly day, the roads were quiet and we could pull over to take in the scenery as often as liked. Despite our efficient rain paints, hiking in the rain was not as delightful as you always imagine it will be when you’re warm and dry inside. I enjoyed the novelty of it but eventually, we had our fill. We made it about 2-3 miles out, settled in for a drizzly snack along the river banks, and then made our return. The grade for the first few miles was pretty easy and it gave us a feeling of the rainforests that we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Back at our car, we realized that even though we felt damp, our rain jackets and rain pants had done the trick quite well. We were cozy and dry in the car after shedding the outer layer. If you’re looking for an alternative to the busier Hoh Rainforest area, check out this region of the park for similar vegetation, pretty easy hiking, and fabulous scenery.