Get off the beaten path this summer with a day trip or overnight stay at the scenic Wynoochee Lake. Located just 35 miles or so from Montesano, this secluded yet easily accessible area offers up-close views of the Olympic Mountains and an abundance of outdoor activities. If you wakeboard, surf, ski or camp, Grays Harbor’s Wynoochee Lake should be your next destination.
Operated by the U.S. Forest Service, Wynoochee Lake has everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors, including campsites at Coho Campground, hiking trails, and gorgeous waterfalls, as well as fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities. As one of the most idyllic areas in Grays Harbor County, it’s the perfect place for solo and family outings.
Places to Stop on the Way to Wynoochee Lake
Those making the drive out to the lake or campground should keep in mind there are no commercial services available at either location. Pack plenty of food and provisions before leaving home – and be sure you have enough fuel for the return trip – or stop by local stores and gas stations along the way. In Montesano, stop by Wynoochee Coffee Co. at 213 Pioneer Ave W; Wynooche Meats & Deli at 201 Wynooche Ave E; or Pick Rite Thriftway at 211 Pioneer Ave E. Several gas stations are located on Pioneer and Main Streets and throughout the downtown area.
If you’re driving in from the coast or passing through Aberdeen, find foods for a picnic lunch or overnight camping trip at Safeway, 221 W Heron St; The Market Place at 101 N Broadway St, and the Walmart Supercenter at 909 E Wishkah St. Bonus: Safeway also has a gas station. For a sweet treat and a shot of caffeine, try Huckle-Bearies Espresso & Bake Shoppe at 2400 Sumner Ave or Harbor Coffee at 501 Oak St.
Hiking Trails at Wynoochee Lake
The gas tank is full, and the cooler is packed. It’s time to head out for some outdoor fun! Stop at the kiosk located at the entrance to Wynoochee Lake for maps and information, or download and print maps here. Note: cell service and data connection are limited in the area, so printing maps is recommended.
Those looking for a leisurely stroll will enjoy the half-mile Working Forest Nature Trail. Access this trail on the north side of the Coho Campground beginning at Loop B. Exhibits and signs give visitors a chance to learn more about the area, and views of the river gorge below the dam at the vista overlook are stunning.
The Wynoochee Lake Shore Trail #878, a 16-mile loop, offers hikers views of small streams, waterfalls, and lush second-growth forest areas. Access is also through the Coho Campground. Be sure to wear durable shoes, hiking boots, or water shoes, as you’ll likely encounter water, rocks and fallen trees along the trail. Six miles of the trail are along the lakeshore, with two additional miles opening up to a bridge crossing over the Wynoochee River.
Find access to the Maidenhair Falls Trailhead just off the northern section of the Lake Shore Trail, where signs point hikers in the right direction. Waterfall lovers will find this adventure well worth their time. With the falls cascading off boulders, many have noted the waters look like a maiden’s flowing hair. You’ll want to take photos here, for sure!
Camping at Wynoochee Lake
Coho Campground, located on the west shore of Wynoochee Lake, is a lush, wooded campground with 46 sites to accommodate tent and RV campers. In addition, there are ten walk-in tent camping units and one walk-in group site with space for up to 12 people. Although there are no RV hook-ups, there is a dump station located just outside the campground.
If yurts are more to your liking, there are three non-smoking yurts on elevated platforms overlooking the lake available by reservation only. One of the yurts does have room for an extra tent or RV, depending on size. The yurts have heating, lighting, a futon couch, bunk bed, table and chairs, as well as a picnic table and fire ring outside. Please note: campers must supply their own bedding and cooking supplies.
Camping is available from mid-May through October, weather permitting. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis online at the U.S. Forest Service Recreation website or by calling 877-444-6777. Discounts are available with Interagency Senior, Interagency Access, Golden Age, and Golden Access passes. They do not apply to yurts.
Boating, Fishing and Swimming at Wynoochee Lake
Don’t forget your fishing pole and license when you head out to the Wynoochee Lake area. Lake and pond fishing is great from the shores of the Coho Day Use area, and there’s a boat launch as well. Anglers are likely to catch rainbow trout and whitefish. Find more information at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website.
Picnicking at Wynoochee Lake
Take in the beauty of the lake from one of the many picnic tables located in the Coho Day Use area. It’s the ideal location for a romantic lunch for two, a family outing, or when fueling up before or after a trail hike. Cool off in swimming areas located near the dam, or dip your toes in the water along the lake shoreline.
Wynoochee Lake is located about 35 miles from Montesano and about one hour from Aberdeen. Take the Devonshire Road exit off Highway 12, head north on Wynoochee Valley Road, and follow the signs. For general information, including outdoor activities and weather conditions, call 888-502-8690.