Quinault Valley Voyage (Trip) - Grades 9-11

Quinault Wesbite Photo 1.png
Quinault Wesbite Photo 1.png

Quinault Valley Voyage (Trip) - Grades 9-11


Sunday, August 12 - Friday, August 17, 2018

Pre-Trip Meeting (Mandatory) Saturday, August 11, 2018

Come explore the quieter side of Olympic National Park (ONP) with us as we hike along portions of the North Fork Quinault/Skyline Ridge Loop trail in the Quinault Valley. 

The Quinault Valley is an incredibly unique area of Olympic National Park, offering solitude and peace unparalleled in most areas of this busy National Park. Due to its low traffic, it is also an amazing place for wildlife spotting. Roosevelt elk, bald eagles, beavers, river otters, and ospreys are often spotted. In addition to its incredible fauna, the Quinault Valley offers some truly unique flora opportunities! The valley is home to four world-record-holding trees: the world's largest Sitka spruce, Alaska yellow cedar, Western hemlock, and Mountain hemlock. Learn more about the Quinault Rainforest plus check out this blog plus ONP trail info.

This hike is 25 miles long, but day hikes can extend it to 30+ miles. We'll be making collaborative decisions about how much extra exploring we want to do.

Advanced Level. Total trip miles: 25 miles with full packs, collaboratively decided additional distance in day hike explorations.


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2018 Itinerary

Sunday, August 12 - Friday, August 17, 2018

Pre-Trip Meeting (mandatory): Saturday, August 11, 2018. Time: 10:00-1:00PM. Location: Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Avenue, Bellingham. Directions. Participants should bring backpack and everything on the gear list they plan to bring on the trip. While this meeting is for participants only, we're happy to fill parents in on everything we discuss!


Meet at Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Avenue, Bellingham at 7:00AM in order to catch the ferry to Port Townsend. Directions. After stopping at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles to obtain permits and bear canisters for each participant (note: empty, these weigh about 2 lbs each), we'll head west to the Skyline Ridge trailhead. From the trailhead, we’ll shoulder our packs and hike 6.9 miles through lush rainforest trails, passing beneath a true behemoth in this “Valley of the Giants,” the world’s largest Alaska yellow cedar! Shortly after leaving the shadow of this record holding tree, we will make camp at the Three Lakes campsite and rest amongst the blooming bear grass.


We will begin our second day traveling north 3 miles along the Skyline Ridge trail to Three Prune campsite. Here we will drop packs and day hike up the steadily climbing trail toward Kimta Peak. Along this section of trail we are primed to view all kinds of wildlife, such as the herds of Roosevelt elk that roam this area of the peninsula. We will trek up and up, popping in and out of alpine mountain views, until we feel it is time to turn back to our campsite at Three Prune. We could travel as many as 8 additional miles during this day hike!


Today, we will travel just 4.6 miles, giving our bodies a break from the steep climb the day before. Along this area of trail we will continue through verdant forest, punctuated with sunny meadows boasting wildflowers and trilling song birds. At the end of this day we will make camp next to Elip Creek and retire our hiking shoes early to shift our focus to an internal reflection guided by the soft rush of water nearby.


We will enjoy a late morning wake up, preparing for our day to the backdrop of the gurgling Elip Creek. Today, we will have a brief 4 miles to Wolf Bar camp, but will encounter many obstacles along the way, puzzling together climbs over large fallen trees and fording Wild Rose creek. This time of year, the creek is tame enough to cross safely, but still strong enough to provide an opportunity to learn the intricacies of fording fast water. Once at Wolf Bar, we can take a dip in some of the many watering holes. The water may be a bit chilly, but our sore feet and perspiring bodies will welcome it!


Today we will begin our return to more established areas of the Quinault Valley. We will hike 3 miles to the North Fork Campground, where we will eat a celebratory lunch, delighting in the completion of our 25+ mile loop! The rest of the day will be an opportunity to debrief the powers and challenges of our trip, and explore the growth we experienced during our days on trail. Depending on the pace of the day, we may choose to hop on the bus and take a short ride to scenic Quinault Lake, where we can swim or relax on shore.


We’ll rise and greet this final solitary morning before packing up and boarding the bus for a long drive back through the park. We’ll stop at Lake Crescent to stretch our legs and take a dip then head to the Wilderness Information Center where we will drop bear canisters and heading on to the Port Townsend ferry. With this last water crossing, we will shift our thoughts to re-entering our life at home, ultimately arriving to a beautiful Bellingham summer night. 

Pick-up: Meet at Cascades Montessori Middle School, 2710 McKenzie Avenue, Bellingham. Time 8:30PM. Directions.

Learning Outcomes: Lessons learned and concepts covered on this adventure include an in-depth exploration of all Wild Whatcom mottos, healthy and supportive interpersonal communication, Leave No Trace (TM) ethics, collaborative leadership development, positive and negative peer pressure, common sense camping, analyzing hazards and how to mitigate their risk, integrity, exploring how our thinking affects our reality, Native American history and ethnography, self care, ecology and botany of coastal ecosystems, multiple intelligence theory, wilderness awareness, river ecosystems, survival priorities, navigation, preparedness, wildlife and their adaptation to humans, working with and through fears, coastal weather systems, accepting and working with emotions, intermediate backpacking skills, practicing gratitude, the bridge of adolescence, understanding personal potential, and more!

Participant pre-trip questionnaire and tetanus immunization required to participate.

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4+ Day Trips Pack List

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