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Hoh Rain Forest Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Walking under maples, Hall of Mosses Trail, Hoh Rain Forest (bobcat)
Reclining elk in the Hoh Rain Forest Campground (bobcat)
At the Hoh River, Spruce Nature Trail (bobcat)
Tall Douglas-fir on the Hall of Mosses Trail (bobcat)
The short interpretive loops at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Hoh River TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Hoh Maple Grove
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: Two loops
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 190 feet
  • High Point: 750 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

There are three short trails at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center that highlight the ancient old-growth of Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir, and western hemlock. The Mini Trail, the Spruce Trail, and the Hall of Mosses Trail all connect to offer visitors an interpretive experience of this lush area that averages 150 inches of rainfall a year. You also stand a good chance of spotting members of the local elk community, but keep at least 50 yards distant, and remember that female elk with calves are some of the most aggressive beasts in the wilderness! Bear sightings are also quite common in the area.

Pass the main kiosk and then two massive Sitka spruce to reach the junction with the Hall of Mosses Trail. Bear right and cross Taft Creek on a footbridge. At the junction with the Hoh River Trail, go right on the Spruce Nature Trail. The next junction is the beginning of the first loop, so make a left here at an interpretive sign. A clearing to the left was created by large trees that toppled in a windstorm. You’ll also notice a number of tree “rows” in these woods, a line of large trees that began as saplings on a nurse log that has since rotted away. Vine maple and red huckleberry, which offers tiny but tasty ripe fruit in August, dominate the understory. Cross a dry creek bed, and go right at a junction, then left at the next to reach the bank of the milky, glacier-fed Hoh River. Gravel beds are exposed in the summer as this lower section of the river meanders towards the Pacific Ocean. Keep left at the next junction, and pass a huge fallen Douglas-fir with a rootball hosting a thicket of young hemlocks. Next, you’ll spot a collection of hemlock saplings atop a rotting stump. Pass a row of nurse log siblings, and hike above Taft Creek, which issues from springs not far from here. Cross the creek, where a massive Douglas-fir towers overhead. Come to the loop junction, and go left and then left again to cross Taft Creek, and come to the junction with the Hall of Mosses Trail.

While the Spruce Nature Trail is essentially flat, the Hall of Mosses Trail involves a little elevation gain. Go left and admire the tall Douglas-firs towering to your right. Take a footbridge across Taft Creek, and head up a slope shaded by tall Douglas-firs and hemlocks. At the top of the bluff, turn left at the junction to begin the Hall of Mosses Loop. Lady fern, wood fern, red huckleberry, and salmonberry form a lush understory. A spur leads left for a viewing of the Hoh Maple Grove at a split-rail fence. The contorted moss-draped maples, which can live a couple of hundred years and create an entire canopy ecosystem as they age, in essence exemplify the spirit of the rain forest. Continue along on the main trail, passing a split-trunk Sitka spruce and a nurse log. Hike under the moss-encloaked big-leaf maples at the Hall of Mosses, and ascend a slope. The trail then drops, passing a huge spruce to the right and a row of mature hemlocks that sprouted on a nurse log. The route proceeds next to a fallen giant and reaches a grove of tall Douglas-firs atop the bluff. From here, go left at the loop junction to return to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $25 National Parks 7-day pass
  • Campground, visitor center, restrooms, interpretive trails
  • No dogs on trails
  • In summer, the biting flies can be a minor nuisance

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • The Best of Olympic National Park by Alan Leftridge
  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Olympic National Park by Erik Molvar
  • Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington by Susan Elderkin
  • Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades by Joan Burton
  • Best Short Hikes in Washington’s South Cascades & Olympics by E.M. Sterling & Ira Spring
  • Washington Hiking by Scott Leonard
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.