Rainforests cover only 6% of the Earth’s surface, so finding these tall, dense (and wet!) woodlands may sound like a tough task. But, look no further than the Northwest US in Washington State to get a glimpse of a superb area of nature and one of the last surviving areas of temperate zone rainforest.
The Hoh Rain Forest, 90 miles from Port Angeles, caters to visitors with its three nature trails, including the short but very impressive Hall of Mosses Trail.
The rainforest is located within Olympic National Park and this protected site gets up to 170 inches of precipitation a year. The wet conditions promote growth in an area dominated by towering hemlock and Sitka spruce. It’s home to bear, elk, deer and the northern spotted owl.
The best way to experience the Hoh Rain Forest is by hiking a trail through the forest. Two short nature loops that start near the visitor center, the .8-mile Hall of Mosses Trail and the 1.2-mile Spruce Nature Trail, wind through old-growth rain forest. If you’re really ambitious, the Hoh River Trail is a 17.3-mile path that climbs 3,700 feet and leads to Glacier Meadows on the shoulder of Mount Olympus. If you make the trek, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Mount Olympus and Blue Glacier.
If you want to stay the night in the rainforest there are 88 campsites along the banks of the Hoh River, available on a first-come, first-served basis. The year-round campground can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs up to 21 feet. Each campsite features a picnic table and fire pit. The campground has running water and community restrooms, but does not offer RV hook-ups or showers. For visitors making a day trip to the Hoh Rain Forest, the town of Forks offers a variety of lodging within an hour’s drive, including motels, cabins and bed and breakfast inns.
A truly unique experience, a visit to the Hoh Rain Forest is a must when visiting Olympic National Park. You could say rain is a good thing for this area and it gives the flora and fauna what it needs to flourish and thrive.
Moss never looked so good!