“Explore solitude on the Hoh River, away from the crowds and in serene, ancient wilderness.”
— Doug Scott
Birding · River/Creek · Views
This trail is the perfect introduction to non-tourist areas of Olympic National Park.
The Hoh River is ancient, beautiful and immense, which is why each and every corner of America's favorite rainforest should be explored. While the masses flock to trek the Hall of Mosses, Mineral Creek Falls, the Hoh River Trail
and beyond, solitude and meditation can be found at the South Fork Hoh River Trail. Here, ancient stands of trees sit along the banks of the milky blue Hoh River, giving off views upstream that have inspired wilderness adventures for generations.
This trail is nearly always muddy, which adds to the backcountry feel of navigating in the Hoh Rainforest
. Far from any amenities, the wilderness of the Olympics is felt with each passing step. Starting in Olympic National Forest, the trail dives into the park after the first half mile, giving jaw-dropping views of old growth timber rarely seen by the 3 million+ visitors who explore Olympic National Park each year. For the next mile, pass through virgin timber and thick undergrowth before arriving at the popular backcountry camping destination known as Big Flat. Another mile in and you'll start getting a few views of the wilderness that presides upstream.
Once the trail renters the forest, be ready to be blown away by unbelievably giant Douglas Firs, Cedars and Western Hemlock. Take your time in this section, as this path is one of the best places to appreciate being dwarfed by the immense size of the local flora, and the immense wilderness of the Olympics in general.
As you graze past the low sweeping branches of the towering trees, the trail heads back toward the river, and eventually reach the terminus of the maintained trail. From here, the nearly mile high Hoh Peak looms large in the distance, and all seems right with your decision to explore the lesser visited regions of the Hoh.
Flora & Fauna
Watch for elk, deer, and black bear while roaming through old growth cedar, firs, and hemlocks. In the fall, this trail is quite good for mushrooms.