Grays Harbor Is A Sportsman’s Paradise

Outdoor Adventure in Grays Harbor County Goes from Mild to Wild

The paths and trails of Grays Harbor County are prime year-round destinations for visitors that want a gentle outdoor experience or something more adventurous.

In the “Guide to Walks and Trails of Grays Harbor County,” an informative and easy-to-read directory captures the unique landscapes of the area. With a host of suggested picturesque routes located across the county, from Lake Quinault to the Capitol State Forest, there is a path for every adventurer.  The guide is a useful tool for visitors searching for a relaxing walk, scenic exercise, family-friendly trecks or those seeking a challenge on steeper terrain. This guide offers outings through forested lands, the famed temperate rain forests, coastal estuaries, urban walks and relaxing riverside strolls.  The free, four-color guide is available through the Grays Harbor Tourism office in Elma.

Grays Harbor is also the destination for unforgettable hunting and fishing adventures. As waterfowl hunting moves into its close, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials say this season may have offered the best opportunity in more than 50 years.  Next season may promise the same.  Waterfowl biologists have reported the best fall flights of migrating ducks since 1955,” said Greg Schirato, deputy director of WDFW’s Wildlife Program. “The opportunities haven’t been this good in most hunters’ lifetimes.”  Schirato said the bounty this season was due to good rainfall in northern waterfowl breeding grounds last summer, as well as favorable conditions here for duck and goose production. The abundance of birds made this a good season for waterfowl hunters to introduce newcomers to the sport, he said.  Hopefully this trend continues and the 2012-13 waterfall season will offer the same opportunities.

WDFW has launched a new waterfowl hunting feature on its website at to offer information for new or returning waterfowl hunters, ranging from the basics of duck and goose identification to details on hunting locations, equipment, licensing requirements and handling harvested waterfowl.

The department has also been working to provide additional places to hunt on state-managed lands and is working with landowners to open private lands to hunting within the county. Waterfowl hunting success traditionally increases as the season progresses with influxes of migrant birds and added hunting days.

If you’re an angler and enjoy testing your luck on the water, early season reports have Grays Harbor rivers producing strong numbers of stealhead this winter, as well.  The Satsop, Wynooche, upper Chehalis, Humptulips and Quinault River systems have reported stretches of good fishing. The best numbers are being reported as rivers begin to fall from high water levels.  A state record catch is only one cast away!

Grays Harbor County is Home to the Hidden Coast Simply Unforgettable Outdoor Adventures

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.