Taming the Wild Wynochee

“Let’s go hiking,” he said. “It’ll be fun,” he said.

Never mind that there was still enough late snow on the ground to give a Yeti cause for pause. Or the thermometer mercury was tickling the low forties.

I just smiled sweetly and chirped, “Great idea! Let’s go!”

It seemed like a good idea at the time. And that’s how Snuggle Bunny and I wound up hiking at Wynoochee Lake in March. At least the snow was hard packed. Easy to walk on. Not that I could feel my toes much after a couple hours on the trail.

That being said, this particular Monday adventure was one of a kind. (You can take that any way you want). For one thing, we had the entire lake to ourselves. It was pristine. Clear. Blue. Smooth as glass.

We also had the trails to ourselves. No one else was dumb enough to be out galumphing around the lake that early in the season.

Wonder Dog loved it. Because she’s… well, Wonder Dog.

Kimber the Wonder Dog loves playing in the snow!


The 16-mile Wynoochee Lakeshore Trail is open for hiking and mountain biking. Wynoochee Lake and Dam are located in western Washington at the mouth of the Olympic Mountains. It’s a great destination for families looking for a day trip. The nearest town is Montesano, just over an hour’s drive away.

There’s swimming at the day use area, which also has picnic tables and barbecues. I’d wait for warmer weather ‘fize you. But if you’re up for a little adventure and remembered to bring your gloves and Under Armour, you can tame the wild Wynoochee with a brisk walk amid a lush forest hemming a serene lake that will speak to you for days.

Wynoochee Lake can be reached from Highway 12 just west of Montesano by heading north on Wynoochee Valley Road/Forest Road 22. Follow Wynoochee Valley Road for 35 miles. Turn left to remain on Forest Road 22, and after around one mile, turn right at Forest Road 2294. Entrances to the Coho Campground and the Dam are along this road.

Visit the Olympic National Forest website for detailed directions and maps.



4 Responses

  1. Amy

    Oh my word! I bet you slept so well that night! I did a similar hike up north in January in Michigan, and it was so icy and cold! But still it felt great to get out there! I’ve never been to Washington but it sounds so lovely!

    • HikerBabe

      Best time to visit WA if you’re going to hike? Mid-September to mid-October. After Labor Day and the summer hordes and masses have subsided. But before temps drops and the snow flies. We usually get a few weeks of really pretty Indian summer. 🙂

  2. Sandra Stanley

    Of goodness, better you than me! I like a good hike, but March temperatures are not for me. The lake is gorgeous. Maybe in summer on my next visit to Washington I’ll check it out.

    • HikerBabe

      Sounds like a plan! On the plus side: At least we had the lake all to ourselves. It gets crowded in the summer, esp. on weekends.