Are you planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest?
Chances are, you’re hitting up all the iconic spots like Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, and the Oregon Coast.
The Olympic National Park is probably on your radar too! One of the most popular places in the park? Hands down, the Hoh Rainforest.
With an extremely diverse ecosystem, tons of wildlife, and beautiful hiking spots, the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park is truly a must-see!
Berty and I have visited countless times, in all types of weather and seasons too! We’re here to give you the inside scoop on what to do, and how to plan the best trip here.
Let’s get started!
The Complete Guide to the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park
- The Complete Guide to the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park
- What is the Hoh Rainforest?
- Best Time To Visit the Hoh Rainforest
- Places To Stay Near The Hoh Rainforest
- Things To Do In The Hoh Rainforest
- Hoh Rainforest Directions (Map)
- Fun Facts About The Hoh Rainforest
- More Olympic National Park Adventures
Is this part of a larger Olympic National Park vacation? These blog posts might help your travel plans!
> The Complete Olympic Peninsula Road Trip
> The Best Places to stay near Olympic National Park (Camping, Cabins, Hotels)
> The Complete Olympic National Park Packing List
> 30+ Incredible Things To Do In Olympic National Park (broken down by region)
What is the Hoh Rainforest?
Located in Olympic National Park, the Hoh Rainforest is a lush, green forest of coniferous and deciduous trees, mosses, and ferns. It is one of the most enchanting places in the Pacific Northwest!
Visiting the Hoh is one of the most popular things to do in Olympic National Park. It’s also one of just a few temperate rainforests in the United States!
It was named after the Hoh River, which flows through the Olympic Peninsula. The name has linguistic ties to Native American languages, such as the Quileute Tribe word “Ohalet,” meaning “fast moving water” or “snow water.”
Best Time To Visit the Hoh Rainforest
The best time to visit the Hoh Rainforest is in the summer months which are May-September. This is when the area is less rainy and has milder weather. You can expect a comfortable temperature ranging in the low 50s at night and the mid 70s during the day.
Because of the rainy weather in this part of the Pacific Northwest, the conditions vary over the months. The rainforest is moody and wet in the winter. It’s still totally worth a visit if mood if your vibe (hellooo Twilight) but the weather is more easy-going in the summer.
Ultimately, it’s up to your preferences and what you’d like to experience while in Olympic National Park. It is magical year-round!
Hoh Rainforest Weather – What Should You Expect?
Being a temperate rainforest, the Hoh Rainforest has an extremely diverse climate that is enjoyable all year round.
With an average of 140-167 inches (3.55 meters) of precipitation each year, you can expect rain during your visit! Most of the rain happens in the winter and in the summer the weather is really mild.
Check out our guide of essential packing list items on your next visit to Olympic National Park. This checklist will help you pack for all seasons in park.
Visiting the Hoh Rainforest in the Summer
In the summer, temperatures don’t generally reach above mid-70s.
This is the least rainy time in the Hoh Rainforest, making it a perfect time to hike, explore, and enjoy wildlife! This is also when a lot of people plan their backpacking trips in the nearby Hoh National Forest.
Visiting the Hoh Rainforest in the Winter
When visiting the Hoh Rainforest in the winter, you can expect to get rain, fog, moody vibes.
With over 150 inches of rain per year, prepare for your trip to the Olympic Peninsula with a raincoat and solid pair of waterproof shoes.
The rainiest months in the rainforest are October-April. However, it’s a great time to potentially see a passing herd of Roosevelt elk! It’s also a great time to visit if you want to avoid crowds.
Places To Stay Near The Hoh Rainforest
There are tons of places to stay in the Olympic National Park while visiting the Hoh Rainforest.
While there’s just one campground within the Hoh Rainforest, there are tons of campgrounds, cabins, and hotels that are nearby.
One of the easiest Hoh Rainforest camping spots is within the lush forests of the park itself!
The Hoh Rainforest Campground has 72 sites, is easily accessible (including ADA accessible sites), reservable up to 6 months in advance, and affordable at $24 per night.
For the ultimate glamping experience, stay at the ROAM Beyond campsites near the Hoh Rainforest in Kalaloch, Washington (30 minutes from the rainforest).
Act fast to put your name on this list for Olympic National Park this season. The ROAM Beyond campsites are extremely popular and get booked quickly!
Read More: Camping in the Spring: 20 Essential Spring Camping Tips for Early Season Adventures
Just 30 minutes from the rainforest, the Woodland Inns near Forks is a great option for those looking for a convenient and cozy cabin getaway in Washington ($305 per night).
If you’re hoping to channel true PNW moody vibes, check out the Hoh Valley Cabins. This is a quiet escape with plenty of amenities and mountain views that will make you want to stay a while ($175 per night)!
Less than an hour away from the Hoh Rainforest, Forks, Washington is another easy place to stay.
While staying near the Hoh Rainforest, consider staying at the Misty Valley Inn ($270 per night) or the Miller Tree Inn in Forks. This Miller Tree Inn has been named the official Cullen family house from Twilight!
Did you know Forks was the setting of the popular Twilight films? Check out our Twilight Tour of Forks, Washington to visit all of the popular filming locations from the movies.
Read More: 27 Romantic Getaways in Washington State
Things To Do In The Hoh Rainforest
Alright, you’ve made it to the rainforest. Now, what should you do? Keep reading for all our recommendations on things to do in the Hoh Rainforest!
1. Walk the Hall of Mosses Trail
The most popular trail in the Hoh Rainforest is the Hall of Mosses Trail.
The Hall of Mosses Trail is just 1.1 miles and is very accessible for all hikers. It’s an easy route, is partially paved, and has only 78 feet of elevation gain!
While walking along the dreamy Hall of Mosses Trail, you likely see elk, deer, and other wildlife, various species of fungi, and–no surprise here–lots of moss.
This Hoh Rainforest trail is not one to miss! It’s easily one of the most popular things to do here.
2. Check out the Visitors Center
One of the best ways to learn about the Hoh Rainforest is by visiting the visitors center on site!
The Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center is open daily in the summer and Friday-Sunday during the off-season (closed January-February). Hours vary per season so double check across your trip dates.
In the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center, you can check out exhibits, get your National Parks Passport stamped, or visit the park’s store/bookstore. Just outside, you can walk along two self-guided trails, or hike the Hoh River Trail.
If you want to have a more in-depth experience here, take guided walking tours and talks in the summer. These are hosted by the park rangers!
3. The Spruce Nature Trail
The Spruce Nature Trail is another easy trail in the Hoh Rainforest. It’s perfect for all levels of hikers, especially kids!
While hiking the Spruce Nature Trail, you’ll walk along the Taft Creek and the Hoh River. The trail is 1.4 miles round trip with just 16 feet elevation gain. It’s a perfect place to go forest bathing!
The Spruce Nature Trail is known for its vine maples, Sitka spruce, and the occasional elk spotting!
4. Hoh River Trail
One of the most popular trails in Olympic National Park is the Hoh River Trail. It’s a popular Washington backpacking trip, that winds through old-growth forests! However you can do just a section of it for a fun day trip!
The Hoh River Trail has two ending destinations: Hoh River Trail to Blue Glacier and Hoh River Trail to Five Mile Island.
The Hoh River Trail to Blue Glacier is a difficult 37-mile round trip backpacking trail. With 3,700 feet elevation gain, it passes through bio-diverse landscapes and leads to Blue Glacier and Mount Olympus.
The Hoh River Trail to Five Mile Island is a 10.6-mile round trip day hike. With just 300 feet elevation gain, it provides hikers with epic views of Bogachiel Peak and greater Olympic Mountains.
5. Check out the resident wildlife
There’s something so special about unplugging, finding a calm place to rest, and watching the wildlife around you.
Within the area, you might see deer, Roosevelt elk, over 300 species of birds, cougars, bears, salmon, and more!
To the west in the Pacific Ocean, you’ll see whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, sea otters, and tons of creatures within the tide pools along Washington’s beaches.
Capturing the wildlife (in photos of course) is a great way to practice your Hoh Rainforest photography and get the perfect shot of a herd of elk or soaring eagle.
Read More: The Full Olympic National Park Photography Guide (Written by Locals!)
6. Other Hiking Trails Nearby
Up for more Hoh Rainforest hikes?
You can also hike the Mini Loop Trail (only 0.2 miles!) and South Snyder Jackson Primitive Trail (moderate 2.6 miles round trip with 875 feet elevation gain).
Hoh Rainforest Directions (Map)
But just how far is the rainforest from major Pacific Northwest destinations? Here’s a ballpark idea of what you can expect in miles and driving times.
- Distance from Seattle: 3.5 hours, 198 miles
- Distance from Portland: 4 hours, 232 miles
- Distance from Mount Rainier and North Cascades: 4 hours, 204 miles
Fun Facts About The Hoh Rainforest
1. The average rainfall in the Hoh Rainforest is 140-167 inches per year.
The coastal region of Washington State is one of the rainiest places in the US and the Hoh Rainforest is among the top!
With 140 inches of precipitation each year and such a unique ecosystem, the Hoh Rainforest and greater Olympic National Park were established as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
2. The Hoh Rainforest is one of the quietest places in the US.
Established by sound engineer and author, Gordon Hempton, the One Square Inch of Silence is a noise control project that is symbolized by a small red stone placed in the Hoh Rainforest.
One Square Inch of Silence is one of 12 established quiet places in the US. It was placed in the Hoh Rainforest in 2005 to help protect the crucial quiet spots in our natural forests.
To reach One Square Inch of Silence, hike 3.2 miles on the Hoh River Trail from the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center.
The exact location of the red rock at the One Square Inch of Silence is: N 48.12885°, W 123.68234°.
3. There are over 100 types of moss and 100 year-old trees in the Hoh Rainforest.
The jungle-like appearance of the Hoh Rainforest are attributed to the 100s of species of moss that grow in the temperate forest and ancient grows of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and nurse logs.
Many of the Sitka spruce and western hemlock in this area of Olympic National Park can reach 250 feet in height and up to 60 feet in circumference!
4. The Hoh Rainforest is home to the largest wild populations of Roosevelt elk in the US.
Due to the thick canopy that moderates the year-round temperature, Roosevelt elk thrive in the Hoh Rainforest and are often seen be seen by hikers.
The best trails to see Roosevelt here are the Hoh River Trail, Hall of Mosses Trail, and Spruce Nature Trail.
5. Some think the Hoh Rainforest is haunted!
Allegedly, the forests surrounding the Hoh River Trail are haunted by its past, as the mossy forests surrounding the trail may have been used as grounds for satanic worshippers and cult activity.
In the 1970s, some even claimed to have seen hoof-footed goat-like men lurking in the mysterious forests near the Hoh River Trail.
Is it true? Or was it just imagination? We’ll leave it up to you to decide…if you dare!
Did you like our guide to the Hoh? What else would you recommend for first-time visitors? Tell us in the comments!
More Olympic National Park Adventures
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The Olympic National Park Guide to Lake Crescent
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