Last fall, my sister moved to Seattle from St. Louis. Besides a trip to Oregon when I was 6, I have never been to the Pacific Northwest. As soon as she knew for sure she was moving, we started talking about when I could visit. I found plenty of things I wanted to do and see, but I also knew I’ll make more trips in the future, so I won’t try to squeeze it all in right away. This trip though, we decided to drive over to Olympic National Park. We had a few places we wanted to go and managed to hit everyone except the mountain views. It was too cloudy that morning. One place we did visit was the Hoh Rain Forest.
Who knew there were rain forests in the U.S.? Not me. There used to be a rain forest stretching from southeastern Alaska down to central California. All that’s left now is this little bit in Washington. A lot of rain falls in the winter, contributing to the 140-170 total inches of rain fall each year. This leaves a lush, green forest full of ferns and moss covered trees. It’s pretty freakin gorgeous.
The Hoh Rain Forest is located on the west side of the Olympic peninsula and the park. There are places to camp or you can stay in Forks, the closest town. If you are a Twilight fan, they filmed a lot of it in Forks. I’m not a Twilight fan, but it was hard to miss all the movie stuff. The radio station was even named Twilight something or other. We did take pictures of stuff, but only because we thought it was funny. I’m not bashing on any fans here. To each our own.
Speaking of all the rain, we hit up two different beaches that day before the rain forest. It poured the entire drive, but once we got about a mile from the coast, the sky cleared, the sun came out, and it was a gorgeous day. We’d leave the beach and it would start raining again. Same thing happened at the second beach. We were prepared for the rain, so it wasn’t a huge deal, just odd.
The drive into the rain forest was tree lined, with the occasional wildlife sighting. We had to stop once to let the elk cross the road. We started at the visitor’s center and walked the trails from there. The forest has a number of trails, with the big one being 17.3 miles. No thanks. We didn’t have the gear or permits to do that anyways. Instead, we did the Hall of Mosses trail which is 0.8 miles and the Spruce Nature Trail at 1.2 miles. It was so quiet, lightly raining, and just a peaceful hike. Everything is so green and the moss adds an amazing touch. It’s one of those places that you can’t accurately describe.
We were there in the middle of May on a Saturday. It was later in the afternoon, but we only ran into a couple people. Weather wise, we had on sweatshirts and rain jackets and comfortable. If you do make a trip to Olympic, I highly recommend paying Hoh a visit.