It’s Like Going Back in Time to Visit the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington State!

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The Hoh stands as a prime exemplar of temperate rainforests still found within the United States.

Traveling back in time. Photo: Ken and Mary Campbell/National Park Service

If you are looking for a place to experience the beauty and diversity of nature, you should definitely consider visiting the Hoh Rain Forest. Located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state, this forest is one of the largest and best preserved temperate rainforests in the U.S. It covers 24 miles of low elevation forest along the Hoh River, which was carved by glaciers thousands of years ago.

The Hoh Rain Forest receives over 100 inches of rain per year, creating a lush and green canopy of both coniferous and deciduous trees. Some of these trees are massive, reaching up to 95 meters in height and 7 meters in diameter. You can find species such as Sitka spruce, western hemlock, coast Douglas-fir, western red cedar, bigleaf maple, red alder, vine maple, and black cottonwood. The forest floor is also covered with a variety of mosses, ferns, and lichens, some of which are unique to this area. The lettuce lichen, for example, is a delicacy for deer, elk, and other animals that live in the forest.

Big leaf maples at the Maple Grove in the Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park. Photo: Doug Dolde

The Hoh Rain Forest is part of the Olympic National Park, which means it is protected from commercial exploitation and development. You can access the forest by driving along the Upper Hoh Road, off of Highway 101. There is a visitor center at the end of the road, where you can get more information and exhibits about the forest. There is also a campground where you can stay overnight and enjoy the sounds of nature.

There are several trails that you can explore in the forest, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty. One of the most popular trails is the Hall of Mosses Trail, which is a 1 mile loop that takes you through a stunning display of moss-covered trees and plants.

Hall of Mosses, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington.

Another trail is the Spruce Nature Trail, which is a 1.2 mile loop that follows the Hoh River and showcases some of the largest trees in the forest. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can also hike along the Hoh River Trail, which is a 17.3 mile one-way trail that leads to the base of Mount Olympus, the highest peak in the park.

Spruce Nature Trail on a dry summer. Photo: daveynin


Waterfall Along Hoh River Trail. Photo jeffhutchison

Visiting the Hoh Rain Forest is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in a unique and ancient ecosystem that has been around for millennia. You will be amazed by the diversity and beauty of life that thrives in this wet and wild environment. Whether you are looking for a relaxing stroll or a challenging hike, you will find something to suit your taste and interest in this forest.

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