Hoh Rain Forest

~Here’s How You Do It

If you have ever wanted the feeling of entering a land before time or the sense that fairies might be about, the Hoh Rain Forest – on the coast of Washington – is a must. This mystical place will romance you with its lush emerald, Garden Of Eden aura, however, you must bring your own apple.

On the trail
Beginning of the trail

At the start of this overview it must be shared that unlike many other beautiful locations, the Hoh Rain Forest is very easily accessible in a short distance. The entrance to the park is easy to find and once you’ve paid the $15 fee (this covers 7 days), you are all set. Simply park your car in the lot and stroll around and take in the beauty.  Also available are wheelchair accessible trails. There are picnic tables and a developed campground with 88, first come/first serve sites along with full camp bathrooms (yes, running water).

The nice feature within this park is the ability to enjoy most of the scenery without hard-core backpacking in to see it. That said, if you do have a desire to backpack, this is a wonderful trail for those starting out and for those with experience but anticipating a leisurely pace (cough, cough). The most traveled 17.3-mile river trail is fairly level with very little upward slope and the real lotto ticket here is that campsites are located along the river, starting at a little over a mile in. One of the two of us considered dropping the pack at the one mile site but the other insisted we get at least far enough to melt an ice cream cone, side note: don’t mention ice cream to anyone backpacking.

Trail marker
Entrance to the trail

The hike through the rain forest, whether a day hike or a backpacking trip, is filled with glorious sites and you may be left breathless at the shades of green that look like something out of a fantasy.

Our original plan was to camp about 8 miles in at Lewis Meadow but when we came upon 5 Mile Island, we found a stunning spot on the river and decided to kick back and relish the down time. File this one away, bring a small axe like our neighbor did rather than stomping sticks like… well you get the point.

Campsite along the river
Campsite along the river at 5 Mile Island
View from the campsite at 5 Mile Island

After some exploring, we managed to make a fire (you are allowed to gather wood). *Always check fire restrictions/permit requirements before making a fire.  Note that keeping a small amount of kindling (dry grass) in the tent is not a bad idea if you are envisioning a morning fire as everything becomes very wet overnight.

Waterproof matches are key

The river currant is strong which makes for a wonderful rushing soundtrack, however, it should be noted that getting in to swim is strongly discouraged by park rangers. There are areas to wade that seemed safe to us when approached with caution but we only traversed places with no currant.

near the campsite
Near the 5 Mile Island campsite

The sense of wonder does not abate on the hike back out out as the ferns, rain forest flowers, and slow-moving, inky-black slugs contribute to the enchanted forest experience. If you are in luck, a sunset will show up as the icing on this cake.

Sunset from the campsite at 5 Mile

The hike is very kid-friendly but dogs are not allowed on the trail. Please be responsible and pack in/pack out. This gift from Mother Nature is a lovely privilege to behold and our gratitude goes out to the park employees that maintain the landscape.

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Ready-made fort

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