Walking the trails and paths of Grays Harbor is always a visual adventure, allowing you to gaze at unrivaled wilderness from atop craggy peaks, in pristine forests and along the gorgeous coast. While rewarding, sometimes we crave a little more on our treks, which is why late spring and summer are perfect times to explore. As the temperature warms and the snows melt, there is an explosion of new plant growth around the region, specifically wildflowers. Thanks to the varying elevations of the Olympic Peninsula and surround areas, the region is actually considered to be home to one of most diverse wildflower populations in the world. While most of Grays Harbor rests at lower elevations and sees fewer wildflowers, there are a handful of spots in and around our county that will have you smiling as you stop and smell the flowers.
A fun and family-friendly trek to see wildflowers and catch a whiff of the pungently addicting smells of skunk cabbage is found up on the North Shore of Lake Quinault. Here, surrounded by the stunning scenes of the rainforest, wander around the Kestner Homestead and the Maple Glade Trail to see seasonal blooms of your favorite local flowers. Along this well-maintained 1.3-mile hike, you’ll not only see wildflowers blooming in the fields, but you’ll wander through a forest full of skunk cabbage and other blooming plants while enjoying the splendor and relative solitude of the Olympics. What makes this family-friendly trail even more fun is the chance to see the old homestead plot, complete with old farming equipment and buildings.
Lake Quinault Lodge
Also in the area, across the lake, is the Lake Quinault Lodge, where the grounds of this historic resort erupt in color, thanks to the blooming rhododendrons. Rhododendrons are the official state flower of Washington and typically bloom in the late spring, contrasting against the blue skies. If you haven’t seen the “rhodies” at Lake Quinault, head here after exploring the lake and enjoy a meal, the views and the smells of spring on the Olympic Peninsula.