Hoh Rainforest Hike
Hoh Rainforest is one of the most-visited trails in Olympic National Park. You’ll wander through lush temperate rainforest on an easy, family-friendly trail. You’ll see massive old hemlocks, spruce, ferns, and mosses. Watch for Coho salmon swimming in the creek, and name all the species of plant and animal you can. This is a true Washington rainforest adventure and it’s very accessible for beginners and young children.
The trail presents no real challenge and is conveniently located near a visitor center and a campground. Although this trail gets busy, we recommend making the trip if you’re in the park. If you can, visiting on a weekday offers the best chance of a quieter trail.
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Route Description for Hoh Rainforest Hike
The Hoh Rainforest hike is one of the most-visited hikes in Olympic National Park. This area of the park is home to the Hoh River that carves from Mount Olympus to the Pacific Ocean. The word “Hoh” (pronounced “hoe”) comes from Native American language, possibly from the Quileute word "ohalet" which means "fast-moving water" or "snow water." This is speculation, however, and the exact origin of the word isn’t definitively known. This is an exceptionally beautiful area that truly encompasses what a coastal temperate rainforest is. The Hoh Rainforest boasts a canopy of lush trees and an enjoyable experience for hikers of all ages and levels.
This forest draws visitors back year after year. Throughout the winter season, the forest gets plenty of rain to support its biodiversity, contributing to the yearly average of 140 inches (4 m) of precipitation.
The hike begins from the parking loop, passing by the visitor center on your left-hand side. You’ll be on the Mini Trail. Stay left and then left again once you cross the river. The trail then begins to loop. You can go either way, but we’ll describe clockwise.
Go to your left onto Hall of Mosses Trail. On your left in a short distance, there is a short side trail into a pretty maple grove. Wander around here before returning to the main path. Shortly after, you’ll pass through the Hall of Mosses, an impossible green and mossy tunnel through the trees.
Continue through the towering trees, curving to the right at the top of the loop. You’ll now begin to head south through Western hemlock and spruce trees. The ferns tower as tall as you as you dip down to where the trail meets again. From here, head back to your car or stop into the visitor center to learn a bit more about this special area.
The Hoh Rainforest is a perfect example of Pacific coastal rainforest. The massive amount of rainfall this region receives supports a dizzying array of coniferous and deciduous trees. Tall ferns and mosses decorate the forest, and the Hoh River slices through. With picnic areas, campsites and a visitor center, the Hoh Rainforest is a must-see place to start
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes the Hoh Rainforest special?
The amount of precipitation this forest receives supports a unique ecosystem that remains unchanged after thousands of years. The forests of the western slopes of the Olympic Mountains are now the most carefully preserved in the northern hemisphere.
When should I go to the Hoh Rainforest?
Although the temperature stays miles year-round, we recommend visiting in the summer (June-September) as the winter precipitation can be very heavy. The best wildlife viewing tends to be in May and June if that’s a goal of your trip.
Do you have to pay to get into the Hoh Rainforest?
Although there is no direct fee for the rainforest, you’ll need a Discover Pass as you’ll be within Olympic National Park.
Insider Hints for Hoh Rainforest Hike
- This trail is mostly stroller-friendly.
- Hikers using wheelchairs or mobility aids may require some help on sections of the trail.
- Remember your Discover PAss when planning to visit.
- Visiting in the spring or early summer gives the greenest experience.
Getting to the Hoh Rainforest Hike Trailhead
The trailhead of the Hoh Rainforest is in the parking loop at the visitor center off Upper Hoh Road.
Hoh Rainforest Hike Elevation Graph
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Hoh Rainforest Hike Reviews
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