Hoh River Trail & Rainforest Hiking Trails, Washington

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Hoh Trails

The trails that meander through the Hoh Rainforest and along the Hoh River are among the busiest trails in Olympic National Park, taking hikers through a unique ecosystem that is one of the world’s best examples of a temperate rainforest.

What trails should I hike in the Hoh Rainforest area?

Hoh River Trail
A good portion of this Hoh rainforest hiking trail is quite easy for about three-quarters of the way. Then it gets rather steep as it makes its final ascent to Glacier Meadows. Nonetheless, the scenery is amazing and encompasses not only rainforest but also montane forest, subalpine meadow, and wonderful views of Mt. Olympus and Blue Glacier. 

  • Distance: 17.4 miles 
  • Average time: overnight 
  • Elevation gain: 3,700 feet 
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate 
  • Trail type: out-and-back 
  • Trailhead: From Forks, drive south on US 101 to mile marker 178.5, Hoh River Road. Turn left and follow this road for 18 miles to the trailhead.

Hoh Lake Trail
Among Hoh Rainforest hikes, this one ranks as one of the more difficult ones. This secondary trail tends to be a little rough and has a sizeable elevation gain, but if you’re up to it, you’ll ultimately be rewarded with not only great scenery along the way, but stunning views of Mt. Olympus, Mt. Mathias, and Mt. Tom at the end. The lake is pretty awesome, too! 

  • Distance: 6.5 miles 
  • Average time: 3 days, 2 nights (because you must hike a portion of the Hoh River Trail to reach this trail) 
  • Elevation Gain: 4,300 feet 
  • Difficulty: strenuous, especially when heading north to south 
  • Trail Type: one-way 
  • Trailhead: This begins at the 9.8-mile mark on the Hoh River Trail. (see directions above)

Hoh River to Five Mile Island
Another popular Hoh rainforest trail, this one is easier than many in the area. It’s well-maintained, suitable for novices, and the wildflowers are gorgeous in the late spring. There are two waterfalls along the trail as well, also at their best in late spring. This trail is prone to some flooding, so be sure to have proper footwear. 

  • Distance: 10.5 miles round trip 
  • Average time: day hike 
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet 
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate 
  • Trail type: out-and-back 
  • Trailhead: From Forks, drive south on US 101 to mile marker 178.5, Hoh River Road. Turn left and follow this road for 18 miles to the Hoh River trailhead.

South Fork Hoh River to Big Flat
The little known South Fork provides a much more peaceful experience than that of many other Hoh Rainforest trails. Furthermore, it’s a short hike and not too difficult, though it is a little hard to find the trailhead. The sights along the way include humongous trees, a number of creeks, and – at 2.2 miles – the river. Fishermen like this trail, too. 

  • Distance: 6 miles round trip 
  • Average time: day hike; 2-3 hours 
  • Elevation Gain: 200 feet 
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate (some crossings are a little tricky) 
  • Trail Type: out-and-back 
  • Trailhead: From Forks travel south on US 101 for 14.5 miles. Drive 2 miles beyond the Hoh River Bridge and turn left onto the Clearwater Road at milepost 176. Proceed for 6.9 miles to a junction. Turn left onto Owl Creek Road (signed for the South Fork Hoh Trail and campground). In 2.3 miles bear right onto Maple Creek Road, following signs for the campground. After 5.4 miles cross the South Fork Hoh River and pass the campground entrance. Continue for another 2.3 miles, bearing right at an unmarked junction. In 0.5 mile the road ends at the trailhead.

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