A crackling fire, plushy leather seating, and tranquil lake view were my first impressions of Lake Quinault Lodge in Olympic National Park.
Little known to outsiders before 1889, trappers, hunters and native people inhabited Lake Quinault on a seasonal basis. In the early 1890s homesteaders arrived after the first successful expedition across the Olympic Mountains.
A public building was built in 1894 on what is now the lawn area overlooking the lake. A fire destroyed that building in 1924 and a new lodge was constructed and opened in 1926. That building still stands and is the current Lake Quinault Lodge.
Lake Quinault in northwest Washington is surrounded by Olympic National Forest land. Whether you approach Lake Quinault Lodge driving from the north or east on highway 101 the transition between National Park and National Forest land is seamless.
Featuring the grand, yet rustic, log and stone design sometimes known as National Park Service Rustic, Lake Quinault Lodge invokes that nostalgic ambience that makes me feel at home. The lodge’s architect was Robert C. Reamer, most noted for the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park.
The lobby with its large stone fireplace, plentiful seating areas and views of the lake is a perfect place to sit with a pot of tea and read a book. There are also tables available for playing games. The piano was well used by guests while I was there.
There is a small bar located in the lobby that serves Starbucks and other non-alcoholic beverages as well as beer, wine and mixed drinks. It offers a snack/light lunch menu as well. Some high top tables are available next to the bar and there is lots of seating on the verandah.
The reception desk is located in the Gift Shop just down the hall from the lobby. Check-in was very efficient and the staff knowledgeable. Packaged snacks and a nice variety of souvenirs are available in the gift shop.
My first night I stayed in the Main Lodge. These rooms have the rustic feel of the original lodge with a touch of modern amenities. All rooms have a small private bathroom with a sink in the corner of the main room. You can access the lodge and restaurant without leaving the building, a plus in stormy weather.
Built in 1926 I found that I could hear other guests and the piano playing in the lobby while in my room. Since the lodge quiets down by 10pm it was not a problem. There are no phones or TVs. Although they state Wi-Fi access is available in the lobby only. I was able to access it with no problem in my corner room on the upper floor of the Main Lodge. Some rooms have views of the lake.
My second night I stayed in the Fireplace Rooms. The Fireplace building was added in 1987 and was remodeled in 2014. The building is three stories with all rooms facing the lake.
Every room has a gas fireplace with a thermostat controlling the heat. There are also heated floors in the bathroom. These rooms have 42” fireplaces, a small refrigerator for beverages, tiled showers and small balconies or patios with views of the lake.
It was very quiet and yet less than a minute walk to the lodge. This building is also located next to the indoor swimming pool and game room.
The Boathouse was built in 1923 and the original building still stands. There are only eight rooms, some with a lake view. There is an encircling verandah. This is the only building at the lodge that allows pets. A six foot leash is required if you will be taking your pet on the trails in Olympic National Forest.
The entire top floor of the Boathouse is dedicated to the Beverly Suite. There are two bedrooms and views of both the forest and the lake. The living room includes a sofa, chairs and television. There is also a small kitchen. The private bathroom has a walk in shower. Pets are not allowed in Beverly Suite
The Lakeside building, built in the early 1990s, is the furthest from the lodge, but still a short walk away. The building was remodeled in 2014. All rooms offer partial lake views with a balcony or patio.
Lakeside Rooms are more spacious than rooms in the other buildings and, like the Fireplace building include a TV. All rooms have private bathrooms. There are wheelchair accessible rooms on the ground floor.
The Roosevelt Dining Room has tables in the main building that include an enclosed portion of the verandah. For views of the lake while you dine ask to be seated in the enclosed verandah. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s meal at Lake Quinault Lodge in 1937 led to a bill creating Olympic National Park. The dining room in which he ate was later renamed in his honor.
I had breakfast in the Roosevelt Dining Room both days of my stay. The sweet potato pancakes with candied pecans and eggs benedict with brown butter hollandaise were both worth the indulgence. The dining room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The light lunch/snacks are available in the bar after the dining room closes for lunch.
Lake Quinault Lodge offers a wide array of activities. On the property there is an enclosed swimming pool open 9am to 10pm. The game room has a foosball table, ping pong, pool table and arcade games.
During the summer the lodge offers boat tours two to three times a day. You can also rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats and paddle boards. You can walk along the beach or swim in the lake.
Lake Quinault Lodge is unusual among the resorts in Olympic National Park because it is open all year. The Rainforest Coach Tour, a four hour tour of the Quinault rainforest, operates all year with two tours a day mid-June until Labor Day. Most of the rest of the year the tour operates from 9:30am to 1:30pm daily.
There are special events throughout the year such at the Mushroom Festival in October and special events for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Step out the door of Lake Quinault Lodge and there are numerous hikes to choose from. Many within walking distance of the lodge. Some will involve a short drive. During my stay I walked the 1.6 miles loop to Cascade Falls starting the trail across the street from the lodge.
I also walked a .9 mile trail that ran along the lake from the beach north to Willaby Campground. From there you can walk the .5 mile Rain Forest Nature Trail Loop and then follow the road back to the Lake Quinault Lodge.
Lake Quinault Lodge offers a quiet retreat where you can read and relax and enjoy the scenery, or a home base for as much outdoor activity as you wish to pursue. Accommodations range from simple lodge rooms to more spacious lodging with fireplaces and TVs. All provide the basic comforts and modern amenities.
The staff is helpful and can provide you with information on the surrounding area and maps of the Quinault National Recreation Trail System.
During the lodge’s busy season, May to October, you should make reservations one to two months in advance, four months in advance for holidays. Lake Quinault Lodge is open all year and accessible by car during the winter.
The natural beauty is breathtaking, the atmosphere peaceful, and Lake Quinault has the added bonus of the unique ambience of a National Park Lodge.
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