Westward Hoh to old-growth rainforest
The Hoh Rainforest is dripping in moss, ripe with summer berries, and ablaze in fall color. Learn more about Roosevelt Elk and old-growth temperate rainforest ecology with your naturalist guide.
Consider our tours that include transportation or economical guide service rates with Experience Olympic guided tours
Journey to the Rainforest
4 hours (180 mile) roundtrip drive to the Hoh Rainforest from Port Angeles.
If staying in Port Angeles, consider an Elwha River Restoration Tour for more time hiking.
The Hoh Rainforest is a temperate rainforest wilderness where old-growth Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock dominate. Moss is increadibly prolific on all surfaces, especially when it creates curtains on Big-Leaf and Vine Maple trees.
Enjoy the highest living standing biomass on Hoh Rainforest tours
The placard for Olympic National Park's World Heritage Site designation is housed at the Visitor Center in Hoh Rainforest. Lack of disturbance is reflected in the gigantic proportions of Hoh Rainforest trees including Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Hemlock. According to Unesco, the Hoh Rainforest has a living standing biomass which may be the highest in the world and contains one of the world’s largest stands of undisturbed temperate rainforest.
The Hoh Rainforest is where Gordon Hempton has designated One Square Inch of Silence and Nalini Nadkarni made the discovery that Big-Leaf Maple roots were growing into canopy moss to extract water and nutrients.
Roosevelt Elk on Hoh Rainforest elk and hiking tours
The aptly named Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center Elk herd (or Campground Herd) usually resides within a mile radius of the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center year-round. Additionally, five or more Roosevelt Elk herds can be observed during the drive to the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center.
While most of these herds move into the mountains during the summer, the Hoh Visitor Center herd is the exception and typically does not stray far from the Visitor Center year round. Although it is more challenging to observe Roosevelt elk during the summer, we have stopped to watch River Otters swimming in nearby wetlands so elk are not the only wildlife sighted on Hoh Rainforest elk and hiking tours.
Why travel to the Hoh Rainforest?
Although temperate rainforest surrounds Forks, Washington, most lowland forest outside the boundaries of Olympic National Park has been logged. You therefore have to journey a distance from Forks for an undisturbed old-growth rainforest landscape like the Hoh Rainforest. You will no doubt be thankful for the 95% wilderness designation in Olympic National Park after participating in a Hoh Rainforest elk and hiking tour.
Hoh Rainforest Hiking Trail Options
On Hoh Rainforest tours you can choose two short loop trails – the Hall of Mosses loop (green) or the Spruce Nature Trail loop (gray). The other option is an out-and-back of variable distance on Hoh River trail (light blue).
The Hall of Mosses is the classic upland forest characterized by huge old trees, habitat-rich dead-standing trees or snags, colossal nurse logs teeming with life, and trees of variable ages from seedlings to giants. The Spruce Nature trail takes you towards the Hoh River and through transitional Red Alder forest stands. The Hoh River trail largely encompasses what you see on both the Hall of Mosses and Spruce Nature trail.
Combine the Hoh Rainforest with an iconic Olympic beach, waterfall, or restored river
On the way to the Hoh Rainforest, consider a stop at the beach, visit to a waterfall, or learn about one of the largest river restoration projects in the world. The options below are all possible combination tours that can be included in a day to the Hoh Rainforest. However, the choice of one of these combinations mean less time for hiking and exploring the Hoh Rainforest.
Read our multi-day reviews that describe touring the Hoh Rainforest with Carolyn of ExperienceOlympic Guided Tours