Busy Reader Highlights
At only 1.1 miles long, the Kestner Homestead Trail is also very flat, making this a great selection for those looking for a relatively easy walk.
- Great for lovers of nature and lovers of history alike.
The main attraction of the trail is the Kestner Homestead historical site, but getting there also takes you through a beautiful stretch of temperate rain forest.
- Low-stress for those unused to the wilderness.
Though hikers should always be mindful of wildlife (mandatory legal disclaimer), this trail starts near a well-visited ranger station and ends close to a road with a small house beside it. The trails around Lake Quinault tend to be rugged and to take you far away from civilization, but the Kestner Homestead Trail is about as safe as it gets.
- It’s literally right next to another short, easy trail.
A few yards from the Kestner Homestead trailhead is the trailhead for the Maple Glade Nature Loop Trail.
- You can do this trail guided or unguided.
The park rangers lead tours along the Kestner Trail, stopping at spots along the way to share educational talks on important points. You can also hike it alone on your own time (this is how I did the trails).
Leisurely Reader Discussion
Getting to this trail is easy. Simply park at the ranger station (location embedded below) and you’ll see the clearly marked trailhead. There’s a restroom in the parking lot as well. The rangers at this site have always seemed particularly friendly and relaxed. It’s such a quiet location on the sparsely-populated North Shore Road of the Lake Quinault loop, and an easy-going vibe resonates there.
At the trailhead a bridge crosses Kestner Creek (which was almost completely dried up when I was there in July 2019) and takes you into a hall of gigantic hemlocks, maples, and spruces, most of them covered in thick, shaggy coats of moss. There are also impressive sword ferns and skunk cabbage. It feels like stepping back into the age of the dinosaurs.
You follow this flat, well-maintained trail until it reaches a wide open area with the remnants of the Kestner Homestead. A crab apple tree stands out front with some rusting farm machinery. The primary attraction of course is the old house, barn, and work buildings. The front door of the house is locked but other than that the stuff is there to be explored freely.
This is apparently a good spot to view the Roosevelt elk (the area I’ve had most luck in finding them is shown here), but I didn’t see any while there.
From the homestead, the trail loops back towards where you started. Before you get to the end of your circuit, you can switch over onto the Maple Glade Rain Forest Trail where they intersect, or you can continue on your way back to the parking lot.
Either way, have fun and enjoy the Kestner Homestead Trail.
Happy nomadding, friends.