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. Start from the north 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 directions below. The trail 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. The first mile and a quarter of the trail 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.
WTA PRO TIP
When you return to the trailhead, you can visit the Wynoochee Lake shoreline by continuing down the gravel road from the parking area about a quarter mile, to the beach.