The Hoh Rain Forest is synonymous with the lush green ferns and mosses of the Pacific Northwest, and if you think you’ve seen everything in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, this is the destination to add to your list. Along with the nearby Quinault Rainforest, this is one of the few temperate rainforests in the whole country, offering a rare experience for adventurous travelers. There are several ways to enjoy this attraction from planning a daytrip to committing to spending more time exploring the local trails. If you can only enjoy a short visit in your itinerary, the most popular place to visit is the Hall of Mosses, a short trail near the visitor center that will provide a good introduction to the fascinating local eco system.
The Hoh Rain Forest was formed thousands of years ago by glaciers and includes two dozen miles of low-elevation forest along the Hoh River. Many day-trippers opt to spend a couple hours exploring the Hoh River Trail, which extends for more than miles. If you are planning on spending the night, you can gain a better understanding of the depths of the rainforest. Here you might encounter an incredible range of wildlife including tree frogs, spotted owls, cougars, black bears, and elk. The rainforest is of course famous for its trees as well, including spruce and hemlock, with some soaring to more than 300 feet in height.
The Hall of Mosses trail is only the beginning of pleasures that await in this rainforest in the Olympic National Park. Bird watching enthusiasts will find several interesting species here including woodpeckers, flycatchers, and gray-crowned rosy finches. Once you discover all that there is to see here, you might be tempted to stay overnight. One particularly comfortable option is Oliver’s Hoh Rain Forest Cabins. You will have everything you need for a cozy night’s stay here, and can rise early in the morning to head out and explore the local mountain wilderness.
Many travelers choose to combine a trip to Hoh Rain Forest with a visit to Forks Washington. Forks is located only an hour’s drive from the rainforest. This town has become increasingly popular for being the setting of the popular book series Twilight. If you’re planning a family vacation, kids might be more excited about an outdoor adventure trip if it takes place in the same area as some of their favorite characters. For a rustic trip, give your kids their first camping trip but packing along all the equipment you need. The campground here is located all year long, and visiting outside of the peak summer season gives you a chance to enjoy the scenery with fewer crowds.
When you first arrive, the best place to begin is the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center. Here you can get basic information about trails and exhibits. From here many visitors opt to go for a stroll along the Hall of Mosses trail, an 0.8-mile exploration of the forest. Another option is the Spruce Nature Trail, which is slightly longer but still very manageable, at 1.2 miles. Hiking enthusiasts will venture beyond these basic options to tackle the Hoh River Trail. The visitors center is open daily during the summer, and Friday through Sunday during the rest of the year. To experience a unique aspect of Washington’s natural scenery, explore the trails of Hoh Rain Forest.