Lake Quinault, Washington, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Washington - Olympic Peninsula & Pacific Coast -

Also known as:  Quinault Lake

Located in northwest Washington’s Olympic Peninsula tourism region, Lake Quinault is a clear, deep lake lying just west of the Olympic Mountains. Twelve miles of shoreline enclose this majestic 3,700-acre lake, and the surrounding area is bursting with fascinating things to see and do.

For nature lovers, miles of trails with interpretive signs take visitors past cascading waterfalls, trees of record-breaking height, rain forest vegetation, and trees standing on their roots. With so much incredible scenery, it might be easy to forget the excellent fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, golfing, and picnicking opportunities that abound at Lake Quinault. Visitors can even take a leisurely drive or bike ride, with a 30-plus mile loop encircling the lake.

Lake Quinault is surrounded by Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest, Quinault Rain Forest and the Quinalt Indian Nation. Each of these provides numerous additional activities for visitors to the lake, including camping, bird watching, picnicking, river rafting, kayaking, and scenic drives.

Anglers will enjoy fishing on Quinault Lake’s pristine waters. Before heading out for an afternoon of exceptional fishing, fishermen should purchase a permit, available at local stores. Fishing is regulated by the Quinault Indian Nation, whose regulations can be found online. The waters are accessible from the many campsites and resorts around the lake. Several species of salmon and trout are found in the waters of Lake Quinault. Sockeye salmon and kokanee salmon are prevalent as are bull trout, cutthroat trout, and Dolly Varden trout. The fish hatchery located on the western end of Lake Quinault rears four species of fish: coho salmon, fall chinook salmon, chum salmon, and winter-run steelhead.

Visitors should keep their binoculars handy to catch a glimpse of the roaming wildlife. Elk herds and black-tailed deer, along with an occasional bear, can be seen roaming the valley and hills, while bald eagles soar overhead. Loons, trumpeter swans, vireos, warblers, ospreys, and chestnut-backed chickadees are just a few of the bird species that can be enjoyed year-round at Lake Quinault. And don’t be alarmed by the bright yellow or greenish slime in the forest; it’s probably just a six-inch banana slug, prevalent around the rainforest.

Lake Quinault’s geologic history is similar to that of many lakes in this glacially-carved region. The lake was formed by a glacier and is glacier fed. It lies on the Quinault River and is a natural unregulated reservoir. The upper Quinault River flows from the Olympic Mountains into Lake Quinault while the lower Quinault River flows out of the west end of the lake through the Quinault Indian Reservation and down to the Pacific Ocean. The area averages 12 feet or more of rain per year, and the well-watered trees grow to enormous heights in this climate, making one feel as if they had stepped into a storybook. Visitors will find the world’s largest sitka spruce and largest western red cedar tree, along with towering hemlock and douglas fir. The Quinault Rain Forest is one of only three temperate coniferous rain forests in the Western Hemisphere.

The region’s incredible natural resources made the Lake Quinault area and the upper Quinault Valley an important settlement for Native Americans. The many trees and abundant wildlife provided materials and food such as berries, fish and meat and the Quinault River was the main transportation route into the valley.

Today, the area remains relatively untouched. With the national park, forest and Native American reservation all bordering the lake, available real estate on the shores of Lake Quinault is not as common as that of other lakes in Washington. The nearby towns of Quinault and Amanda Park should be included in any search for properties around the lake. Vacationers will have no problem finding a place to stay at the various lakefront vacation rentals, cabins, and getaway cottages built for two located around the lake.

This tucked-away corner of Washington was one of the last places in the continental United States to be settled and that is apparent when visiting Lake Quinault. Seattle is three hours away and is the closest airport. You won’t have to drive three hours for fine dining, however. The lake’s resorts pride themselves in offering a meal fit for a king. But for a change of scenery from the remote wilderness of the area, the Pacific Ocean beckons less than half an hour away. Without a doubt, though, the serene setting and astounding beauty of the lake will bring you back before the day’s end.

Things to do at Lake Quinault

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Lake Quinault

  • Bull Trout
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Coho Salmon
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Dolly Varden Trout
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Steelhead Trout
  • Trout

Lake Quinault Photo Gallery

Lake Quinault Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 3,729 acres

Shoreline Length: 12 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 190 feet

Average Depth: 133 feet

Maximum Depth: 240 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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