- One of the most-visited spots in the Olympic National Park, the Hoh River and the surrounding region provide a chance to admire native flora and fauna, hike through temperate rainforest, visit sub-alpine lakes, fish for huge steelhead trout, and camp in the midst of stunning scenery.
What can I see and do at the Hoh River?
The Hoh is a premiere river for steelhead fishing with plenty of species entering the river all year long. Floating is the best way to catch them but bank and wading anglers have had plenty of success with Hoh River fishing as well.
If you want fresh fish right from the ocean, choose the lower portion of the river. The South Fork, just outside the National Park boundary, is great for walking and wading and offers plenty of solitude while the Upper Hoh is best for drifting.
If you’re fly fishing, experts recommend bright colored flies because of the large amount of silt in the Hoh River Washington, which is a glacial river.
The 17.6-mile (one way) trek from the Hoh River to Glacier Meadows is one of the most popular hikes in the park. Classified easy to moderate, the first 13 miles are very flat but the last 4.6 are steep as it ascends to 4,300 feet. Best experienced from June to September, it provides a good look at the rain forest and views of stunning Mt. Olympus.
The Hoh Lake Trail, deemed moderate, travels 14.7 miles from the river to crystal clear Hoh Lake. There are plenty of switchbacks on this trail but if you’re up for it you’ll be awed by the sub-alpine scenery.
For a quick and easy hike, try Oil City Trail, a .8-mile trek that heads from the river to the Pacific Ocean. Ideal for birders and also great for whale watching during March/April or October.
If you’re hoping for a little rainforest adventure, the Hoh Campground sits in the middle of it all along the river, offering 88 sites and accommodating RVs up to 21 feet. It’s open year-round.
Backcountry Hoh River camping is available along some of the trails though a number of regulations are in place. Backcountry permits are required and can be obtained from the Ranger Station along with more information.
Flatwater runs are available on the 14-mile stretch from just below the Highway 101 bridge out to the ocean, but you must obtain permission to take out once you reach the Hoh Indian Reservation.
From the Hoh Ranger Station to Highway 101, there’s a 21-mile stretch that includes some Class 2 rapids as well as long, flat sections. Outfitters warn that log jams can be a major problem here, so be prepared.
Where is the Hoh River?
Most of the river is inside Olympic National Park and at its end it becomes the boundary between the park and the Hoh Indian Reservation. To get there, take Highway 101 to about 15 miles south of Forks (mile post 178). Signs for the Hoh River and rainforest are clearly marked.