The Quinault Rainforest’s Graves Creek Road is reopening just in time for wilderness enthusiasts to appreciate first-hand the rain and transformation of Olympic National Park’s saturated rainforests. You read that right- the Graves Creek Road in Olympic National Park is scheduled to reopen to vehicle traffic and campers on October 15th, 2016!
Closed due to a washout of the dirt road leading to the campground and trailhead since November of 2015, the Graves Creek region of the Quinault Rainforest is a stunning and wild destination in one of America’s most-popular National Parks. Popular trailheads to Enchanted Valley and Pony Bridge had been accessible all year, but adventurers were forced to trek an extra two miles along a dirt road. Now, the road will reopen and visitors can once again drive to this incredible wilderness area.
Despite the closure, Olympic National Park’s Quinault region remained popular and busy through the summer of 2016. Highlighted by some of the best hiking opportunities in America, this region saw 169,649 visitors through August, just 6,000 visitors less than the same period in 2015. However, the big impact to the Quinault’s popularity this year came directly to the graves Creek region. The number of backcountry permits issued during 2016 in the area was down 20% from the same period of time in 2015, mostly due to the road closure and restricted access to the Enchanted Valley Trailhead.
Seeing nearly a quarter of a million visitors a year, the Quinault is just as spectacular as the more famous Hoh Rainforest to the north. A trip here is always a good idea, especially in the fall, when the maples turn colors and their giant leaves stand out in contrast to the greens of the mosses and ferns on the forest floor below. Once October 15th hits, you should head out to Graves Creek, hike, explore and maybe even camp along the wild and scenic Quinault River at the Graves Creek Campground. It is so awesome, we even wrote an entire article about Spending the Night in Graves Creek!
Full Olympic National Park Press Release
The Olympic National Park road crew, with help from a local contractor, is putting the finishing touches on two major road repairs this month.
The Elwha Valley’s Olympic Hot Springs Road will close to all use on Monday, October 10 to allow contractors from Lakeside Industries to pave the newly-repaired section of road. This closure includes foot, bicycle and horse access.
During the closure, crews will first smooth and prepare the road for paving. Once preparations are complete, the actual paving will be done as soon as weather conditions allow. Because the paving process is weather dependent, a firm timeline for reopening the road is not available at this time. Crews hope to reopen the road by the end of this month.
In the Quinault Valley, the Graves Creek Road will re-open to motor vehicles to its terminus at the Graves Creek Trailhead on Saturday, October 15. The Graves Creek Campground will be open with vault toilets. Potable water is not provided.
Both roads have been closed since last November following a series of storms and floods.
For more information on Road Closures and current conditions in Olympic National Park, give our Adventure Dispatch a listen. Recorded weekly, this podcast highlights events in Olympic, while giving the latest information on weather, campgrounds, trails, snow level, roads and everything else you need to have an amazing trip. Also, consider picking up your copy of The Definitive Guide to Olympic National Park, a 420+ page book on everything you need to have an incredible time in Olympic National Park.