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Lake Wynoochee East Shore Trail

Olympic Peninsula

Location

Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal
View map below

Length

6.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 800 ft.
Highest Point: 930 ft.

Rating

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This section of the trail that goes all the way around Lake Wynoochee can be started at a paved road end on the east side of the dam, or at the end of a side road, off gravel Forest Road 2270, a few miles farther north. We prefer the latter, for better views into the high Olympic Peaks at the turning point (a.k.a. lunch time).

Starting the hike from the north end of the route, the trailhead is about 100 yards from the bulletin board at the end of the driving instructions below. It starts on a narrow footpath heading up a short hill, not in the informal campsite closer to the board. This little hill offers the first of numerous ups and downs. This trail section features two bridges, each preceded and followed by short ascents and descents. In addition to colorful foliage in season, there are groves of old growth hemlocks and fir, giant big leaf maples and occasional majestic cedars. The trail is well shaded, so good for hiking on a hot summer day, too.

As the trail approaches the dam, the path emerges from the forest to a broad cobblestone beach, separated from the tall dam by its float-cordoned intake pool. A giant rusty pipe at the western end of the beach takes on the role of the forest hiker’s usual log, providing a sitting spot for a dozen hikers. It is a great place to have lunch, looking north up the lake, toward the often snowy Olympic mountains.

When you return to the trailhead, you can visit the Wynoochee Lake shoreline by continuing down the gravel road from the parking spot about a quarter mile, to the beach.

 

Lake Wynoochee East Shore Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.3841, -123.6058 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal

Wynoochee Lake (#878)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula

2nd edition (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/olympic/recarea/?recid=47965

Getting There

Drive US Highway 12 between Olympia and Aberdeen, exiting just west of Montesano and milepost 10 on the Devonshire Road exit. Follow directions to the Wynoochee River Road, and those toward the Wynoochee Dam. Paving the road to the Dam was completed in 2010, to the great relief of everyone who travels the Wynoochee River Valley.

About 30 miles from US Highway 12, signs for entry into the Olympic National Forest, and for Forest Road 22 appear on the right shoulder. At 32.7 miles, turn left on the Donkey Creek Road, then right onto Wynoochee Lake Road at 33 miles. {If you prefer to start the hike on the cobblestone beach at the south end of the route, follow the one paved road in between.]

Turn right at the sign for Vista Viewpoint and Restrooms and walk a few feet to a clear view of the dam wall and the turbulent flow through canyon at its feet. There are reader boards here offering the history of the dam, as well as its modern operating practices, in addition to well-maintained restrooms.

Retrace your drive to Forest Road 22; turn left on Forest Road 2270 which promptly becomes gravel. Turn left at the first side road, about 2.5 miles from the junction. The side road is bumpy with a few substantial potholes. Park near the Trailhead sign. The nearby Olympic National Forest readerboard sometimes displays a local map and information on wildlife in the area. No other services are provided, so no permit is required.

 

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Lake Wynoochee East Shore Trail

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