Tours of the Temperate Rain Forests Near Seattle, Washington

Moss and ancient trees at Hoh Rain Forest create a jungle-like environment.
Moss and ancient trees at Hoh Rain Forest create a jungle-like environment. (Image: tonda/iStock/Getty Images)

The Quinault, Hoh and more remote Queets and Bogachile valleys offer prime examples of temperate rainforests. All lie within Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve near Port Angeles, three hours from Seattle.

Guided Quinault tours

Each year, about 12 feet of rain falls on the Quinault Rain Forest. The site is home to the planet's largest Sitka spruce tree -- measuring 17 feet in diameter -- as well as Roosevelt elk, black tail deer, eagles, bobcats and black bears. Lake Quinault Lodge Tours offer year-round rain forest sightseeing trips onboard a 14-passenger touring coach. Allow up to four hours for the narrated trip that incorporates short walks for nature and photo opportunities. Tours depart from the lodge two to three times a day, depending on the season. Visitors may wish to stay overnight at the historic Lake Quinault Lodge, the sole accommodation facility within the rain forest.

The Quinault Driving Tour

The 31-mile Lake Quinault Loop is a self-guided driving tour that takes a look at rain forest attractions around the lake. The loop consists of both paved and gravel roads following Lake Quinault and the Quinault River on the southwest end of Olympic National Park. Highlights along this glacial-carved region include Merriman and Bunch falls and the Quinault Rain Forest Trail, a half-mile hike with interpretive signs along the way. Download the Quinault Valley map from the park website and allow at least two hours to drive the loop.

Merriman Falls highlights sightseeing along the Quinault Driving Tour.
Merriman Falls highlights sightseeing along the Quinault Driving Tour. (Image: Dendron/iStock/Getty Images)

Guided Hoh Explorations

Experience Olympic touring company provides full-day Hoh Rain Forest adventures throughout the year. You can decide when to depart from Port Angeles for the tour; the company recommends an early morning start. EverGreen Escapes provides private, inclusive two-day tours of Olympic National Park exploring the Hoh Rain Forest. Expect to be picked up and dropped off at your downtown Seattle hotel and enjoy lunch prepared from locally sourced foods. Wildlife enthusiasts may wish to plan a trip to Hoh in September to catch the drama of the Roosevelt elk mating season.

Hoh River Tours

See the Hoh Rain Forest from the wild waters of the Hoh River. Peak 6 Tours at Forks, Washington, offers half- and full-day kayaking tours from May to October. Trained guides provide instruction and narration about the history of the river. The route travels through Class II rapids and is not suitable for young children. Fees include boat, wetsuits, life jackets and helmets. The company also offers rafting along the Hoh from February to October.

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