ELMA –Roll up the cuffs of your pants and walk along the beach; relax by a cozy fireplace with an ocean view; or take part in an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. Grays Harbor County is a place of legendary tales of adventure, long relaxing walks in beautiful natural settings and ocean beach sunsets that last forever.
This coastal region of Washington is where history was written before there were words and where the lore and legends of the Quinault Indian Nation describe the topography and natural features better than any map. There is an open invitation to listen to the birds along the estuary, the crashing waves and the deep quiet of the Temperate Rainforest. Here you’ll learn the true language of the Pacific Northwest.
Near Hoquiam, the Grays Harbor National Refuge extends its muddy tide flats as feeding grounds for thousands of shorebirds that migrate the Pacific Flyway during the spring and summer months. The Grays Harbor Estuary allows visitors to hike along Sandpiper Trail to a boardwalk that leads through the forest to the seashore.
Tremendous views of the beach and the sight of thousands of shorebirds will thrill any visitor. Up to 16 different species of shorebird are commonly found here. In late April or early May, a shorebird festival brings experienced birders and newcomers together for a delighted education. A useful trail and birding map of the region is available from Audubon Washington.
Where the Copalis River greets the sea is a hot-spot for razor clam digging, fishing and a drivable beach. At Griffiths-Friday Sate Park, a 364 acre marine park, there is a marine shoreline where salt and fresh water mix. The Copalis Ghost Forest, a grove of red cedar and spruce trees killed by a massive earthquake in 1700, is located on the banks of the river and is reachable by canoe or kayak.
A fine sand spit located at the end of Pacific Beach offers unbroken views of the ocean. This beach area is perfect for strolling, flying kites, building sand castles and viewing marine wildlife. The “Kelpers Day Celebration” over Labor Day Weekend brings kelp enthusiasts to this area for three days of event fun, each year.
Once the thriving end-of-the-line of the Northern Pacific Railway, Moclips is yet another popular beach destination. On the bluffs overlooking the ocean, the Museum of the North Beach offers an opportunity travel back through the area’s fascinating history. Somewhat of a culinary Mecca, Moclips, Seabrook and the Ocean Beach area are home to several outstanding restaurants that feature local produce, seafood and even game. This is a perfect opportunity for visitors to experience coastal cuisine at its finest.
The coastal rivers of Grays Harbor County, such as the Chehalis, Satsop, Wynooche, Humptulips and Quinault, all offer world-class salmon and steelhead fishing opportunities. Lucky anglers will be in for the battle of a lifetime when hooking into one of these beautiful and spirited fish. A state record catch is only a cast away.
The Lake Quinault area offers unforgettable wildlife viewing opportunities. This amazing and large lake is located in the rainforest, nestled into a pristine valley at the base of the Olympics. It is the welcome mat to the Olympic National Park. Casual early morning and late evening drives around the lake often produce sightings of herds of the prestigious Roosevelt Elk, Blacktail Deer, Bald Eagles, the occasional Black Bear, and even the rare Cougar sighting. Visitors will never find a better opportunity to view a variety of wildlife in their natural setting, from the comfort of their vehicle. The lake Quinault area, with its abundant wildlife, waterfalls, and trail system through the wondrous Rainforest is a Wildlife Photographer’s dream.