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The coast to rainforest trek with a big surprise

A road trip that celebrates the sea and the trees. Sponsored by Grays Harbor County.

QUINAULT, Wash. — It's the only place in Washington where you can get from the coast
to the rainforest in less time than the average daily roundtrip commute.
It’s a stretch of road is called the Moclips Highway.

This road linking sandy beach to mossy forest is a highway to heaven, no matter which direction you travel.

We'll start at the Pacific, at the Ocean Crest Resort in Moclips where GM and chef Jess Owen serves expertly prepared seafood with a view of where it came from.

“I grew up on the ocean," Owen said. "What I love about this property is we sit on a 120-foot bluff overlooking the ocean, really unique topography for the Washington coast. You don't find a vantage point like this anywhere else."

The restaurant at Ocean Crest has a reputation for creative, delicious fare served in a stunning ocean-view setting.

His grandparents were the original owners of this iconic resort, and he has always appreciated how unique this part of the coast is.

"You can access all of it right here, the rainforest is just a short drive away."

A forty-minute drive east will get you to the rainforest, and Lake Quinault Lodge, where you'll see plenty of history, and maybe a rainbow

"This is one of our famous rainbows — we get rainbows here quite often, sometimes double, triple rainbows,” said lodge manager Robert Hugo, referencing the rainbow that remained above the lake in the background through his entire interview.

Lake Quinault Lodge was built in 1926, and Hugo says the place is so historic he often feels like a curator.

"They built this whole lodge in 55 days," Hugo said. "We have that chronicled one of our walls, pictures of the construction."

President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited in 1937. This place may have inspired him to create Olympic National Park.

Visitors discover everything from hand-painted timbers, to the iconic seventeen-foot-tall gauge that illustrates why they call this a "rain" forest.

"Just come up here and enjoy and relax," Hugo said. "It's close to Seattle, it's close to Tacoma, it's close to the beach. It's an easy drive from almost anywhere, so come and relax."

Further down the lake is the Rain Forest Resort Village, a place known for two things: the best smoked salmon you'll ever taste and the biggest spruce you'll ever see.

Resort owner Dave Morrison knows the way to the world record spruce — well, it's on his property.

“It really is a nice trail to walk, it's part of the rainforest trail system,” Morrison said as he navigated the approximately half-mile trail to the tree. The spruce is about one thousand years old.

It's one hundred and ninety feet high. And seeing it in person is an experience that can't be measured.

"To me, it's just, I never get tired of coming down here and looking at it,” Morrison said.

This tree, and the rainforest it thrives in, wouldn't exist without the storms that blow in from their nearby neighbor — the Pacific. A wet, and wonderful, place that we're lucky to have in our backyard.

“We live here, and we realize how special it is," Morrison said. "It's not all manmade. This is all nature made."

To find out more about any of the places in this story, go to visitgraysharbor.com.

Sponsored by Grays Harbor County. KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

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