Olympic National Park
End of Upper Hoh Rd, 12 S of Forks off Hwy 101
The Hoh Rainforest is located on the rainy west side of Olympic National Park. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the United states, even though much of the rainforest outside of Olympic National Park has been logged. The rainforest includes Sitka spruce, western hemlock, Douglas fir, bigleaf maple and other tree species. The trees can grow especially big due to the mild climate and abundant rainfall.
Many of the trees are covered with moss and lichens as the climate is well-suited to them. Ferns grow in abundance on the forest floor.
The Olympic National Park visitor center parking area marks the starting point for some good hiking trails. The Spruce Nature Trail is 1.2 miles long and is a fairly flat, easy hike. The Hall of Mosses Trail is shorter at just 0.8 miles, although it begins with a fairly steep (100-foot) climb. Combining the two trails into one hike provides a nice introduction to the Hoh Rainforest.
More ambitious hikers can follow the Hoh River Trail deep into the heart of Olympic National Park, as far as 17.4 miles (one way) to Glacier Meadows on the slopes of Mt. Olympus. The trail climbs 3700 feet in elevation, with much of that in the last four miles. Snow and ice can cover the upper elevations of this trail well into summer.
Hoh River (O14A0204)
The Hoh River begins on the slopes of Mt. Olympus and flows west through the rainforest to the Pacific Ocean.
Giant Sitka Spruce (O14A0208)
This giant Sitka spruce is over 270 feet tall, more than 12 feet in diameter and over 500 years, making it one of the largest such trees in the United States.
Hall of Mosses Trail (O14A0245)
The trees along this trail are covered in green and brown mosses. The trail is named for a grove of maple trees draped with moss.
Spruce Nature Trail (O14A0216)
This newer section of forest has only recently covered an old river bottom area. Compare and contrast this section of the forest with what you find along the Hall of Mosses Trail.
More About Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park encompasses a number of features of the northern Olympic Peninsula, including the Olympic Mountains, a large temperate rain forest on the western slopes, and a rugged strip of the Pacific Coast. Much of the park is roadless, prime wilderness hiking ground. Day visitors often head to Hurricane Ridge, the area around Lake Crescent, the Hoh Rainforest and Quinault as well as the coast at La Push.
You may also like these Olympic destinations:
- Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington
- Big Cedar Hike, Olympic National Park, Washington
- Kestner Homestead Hike, Olympic National Park, Washington
While you're in the area, check out these sights:
- Home Of The Twilight Saga, Forks, Washington
- Loggers Memorial, Forks, Washington
- Kurt Cobain Tributes, Aberdeen, Washington