Washington’s Olympic Peninsula offers a seemingly endless variety of hiking opportunities but one of the most popular has to be the famed Hoh River Trail.
There’s nothing quite like the Olympic Peninsula’s Hoh rain forest. Dense with huge trees, draped with heavy moss, peopled by myriad wildlife, and all before a stunning backdrop of the majestic Olympic Mountains.
Once upon a time, temperate rain forests stretched up America’s west coast, from southern Oregon to Alaska. Now, those in Olympic National Park are some of the last on the planet. The Hoh River Trail offers a chance to explore and experience one of the world’s few temperate rain forests.
Hiking the Trail
The 32.8 mile out and back trail starts near the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center and ultimately leads to Blue Glacier on Mount Olympus. There are many excellent spots to stop along the way, however, so hike as far as you like.
Many make Five Mile Island their goal. This is a sunny lunch spot with views of Bogachiel Peak, located just a few miles upstream from the trailhead. Looking to get out from under the weather? Happy Four Shelter is just a half mile up the trail from Five Mile Island.
Another popular destination along the trail is Mineral Creek Waterfall, some 2.5 miles from the trailhead.
The well-maintained trail provides mostly flat and easy hiking with one river crossing and a few small stream crossings. The only real climb comes towards the end, as the ascends to Glacier Meadow. The route also provides numerous camping spots for those wishing to make more than a day-hike out of it.
As with the rest of the area, Hoh River Trail tends to be heavily trafficked during the summer months. The trail is open year-round, though, and those wily enough to visit “off-season” may enjoy greater solitude. That being said, early spring hikers may see downed trees, washed out bridges, or flooding. Winter visitors may encounter snow or even avalanche conditions
Don’t get caught unprepared. Always be sure to check on current conditions at the ranger station before you hit the trail.
Hoh River Trail
Head south from Forks on U.S. Highway 101 for about 13 miles. Turn east onto Upper Hoh Road and follow it to its end at, about 18.2 miles. Here you will find the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center, ranger station, and trailhead.
Learn more about the trail online at www.nps.gov.
Olympic National Park Lodging
Manitou Lodge is located just west of Forks WA and just minutes from one of the area’s most popular beaches and Olympic National Park. We offer a variety of Olympic Peninsula lodging options, including separate cottages, cabins, and tents or rooms in our Main Lodge. Book your stay today at Manitou Lodge!