Hoh River Trail

MODERATE 213 reviews
#6 of 165 trails in

Hoh River Trail is a 32.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Forks, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 32.8 miles Elevation Gain: 5,114 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

The Hoh River Trail is located in the Pacific Northwest's Olympic National Park and leads to the Mount Olympus Blue Glacier. The Olympic Peninsula is the wettest region in the lower 48 states and the area is known for its spectacular temperate rainforest, subalpine meadows and montane forest. The Hoh River Trail is well-maintained and flat for a good majority of the hike but ascends quickly from the Hoh River up to Glacier Meadow. There is one river crossing and a few small stream crossings along the way. For those interested in camping there are numerous spots along the route. For more information on camping and permits and to connect with the Ranger Station please visit: https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/hoh-river-trail.htm

hiking
10 days ago

Loved it!!! We made it Elk Lake and if you veer off the trail about 40-50 feet in toward the lake; the view is magnificent. The greenery and overgrowth of the plants/trees before ascending to Elk Lake/Blue Glacier (around mile 12) is something out of this world. I would say the first 12 miles or so is welcoming to all ages/levels. Highly recommend.

hiking
17 days ago

Beautifully maintained trail! Gorgeous view of the grey-blue glacial waters of the Hoh River. We decided to trek to 5 mile island only and forgo the glaciers this run. Saw a black bear in a tree scratching his back and a Roosevelt Elk family. It was a very easy 10 mile trek without many elevation gains. Arrive EARLY!!! If you don’t you will be stuck with a tourist crowd bottlenecking the trailhead upon departure. We got to the trailhead at 7am on a weekday and no one else was in the parking lot except rangers and a few die-hards! Enjoy!

hiking
24 days ago

I did about five miles of this trail before turning back. It’s mostly backpackers on the trail. I mainly did the trail to find the “quietest spot on earth” (google it). I couldn’t find the marker stone so it might not be there anymore but I did find the quiet area around 3.2 miles in. It was quiet. All I could hear was nature, no human-made sounds (airplanes, cars, etc).

hiking
26 days ago

Amazingly beautiful easy hike on a sunny day. Feeling the love of nature

hiking
scramble
snow
washed out
26 days ago

We camped for 2 nights and hiked all the way to blue glacier. One of the best hike I have ever had. We camped two nights at Lewis Meadow. There are several stream crossing, some washout close to the rope ladder, some loose step on the rope ladder, and patches of snow after glacier meadow on the way to blue glacier. Generally they are all manageable but cautions are definitely needed. One thing that is worth noting is AllTrails distance of 16.2 mile one way is definitely not accurate. My Giai gps app logged 20 miles one way. The distance from trail head to Glacier Meadow is 17.3 mile, but Glacier meadow is just a campsite where you didn’t see blue glacier at all. From there there is an extra 1.3 mile of steep uphill (including snowfield traversing) to a ridge where you can enjoy all the glory of Mt Olympus and blue glacier. So from Lewis Meadow to Blue Glacier for a day hike is roughly 20miles/day round trip. It is a very long day for us. Please plan accordingly.

hiking
28 days ago

We hiked this on a rainy day over MDW. The trail is well marked and very nice - only a few minorly muddy spots. We did it as a day hike up to 5 mile island, stopped for lunch, and then came back. Most people were hiking with packs and permits to camp along the way - seems like a popular hike for that. Overall we enjoyed the hike. Moderate in rating only for length of 10.5 miles, otherwise it’s fairly easy even terrain. Of note, word at the ranger station was of a mama bear and her cub near the trail so use caution. Also the ranger warned us about an aggressive elk who has been charging visitors (including a car). He has orange paint on him from paintballs. We saw no animals other than a squirrel, so no issues, but be aware!

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

We backpacked the Hoh River Trail over 2 nights and 3 days, camping at Lewis Meadows both nights (10.5 mi in), and then completing the hike up to Glacier Meadow as a day hike on the second day. It was absolutely amazing traversing from rainforest to alpine forest! Mother Nature blessed us with clear views of Mt. Olympus and the surrounding mountains. We actually didn’t make it all the way to Glacier Meadow, as there were 3 risky seeming and steel washouts, with loose slate as the only footholds. We ended up getting great views anyway. The 14 mi day we had hiking up the mountain was definitely difficult! We were grateful our camp was at the lower, flat part of the trail, making our exit on the last day easier. I highly recommend this trail! Some of the best of the PNW.

1 month ago

May 14th Maybe the most profound backpacking experience of my life. This forest is sacred. You can make it all the way to glacier meadow with no additional gear, though it gets squirrelly more than a few times towards the tail end of that. I stayed at the 3 mile campsite on the first night and the 12.4 the second. Actually took my pack up to elk lake to camp, but that site is for normies and sucks. Left my pack there to go up to see Olympus. Got to the cable bridge about 17 miles in, but I was solo and hadn't seen another person all day, so I quit while I was ahead and went back to camp. This hike is a must if you like hiking. 10/10

hiking
bugs
muddy
snow
1 month ago

I did this trail in early May of 2019, and the weather was pleasantly warm, mostly sunny, with no rain, which is obviously rare for this area. Due to the climate, this trail is humid, either in a warm or more temperate manner, most of the year , so it is valuable to prepare with the right moisture wicking and rain proof clothing, In early spring, late fall and winter, Hypothermia is a potential danger, in some cases more so in the rain than in snow. That being said, sweat was not as much an issue as I anticipated, though there were a fair amount of small buzzing insects and a certain degree of plant pollen in the air. As far as the trail itself , the majority of the trail is flat, paralleling the Hoh river itself for quite a while. there are a few bridges, but some of the 4-5 river/creek crossings may involve wading, so good socks and quick drying shoes can be very helpful. I ran into issues wearing full strapped sandals and the low elevation trail had a good amount of exposed roots and rocks to navigate, and the higher elevation sections certainly had many rocky sections. I took the trail at one of the man forks that led to Hoh lake, north of the river. Not soon after the trail forked it began to climb rather rapidly, so hikers should be aware that the flat elements of the trail are not the only variety of terrain available, and if you hike unprepared, you may run into trouble with lack of water especially. It helps to have a filter bottle, even for a day hike, and refill at the Hoh river as often as you can. When I did the hike , I eventually got stopped by residual snowfields and loss of daylight about .5 miles short of Hoh lake itself. The scenery is quite beautiful, especially if you have not been in a temperate rain forest before, and the level of green in the visual field from moss, trees and plants is overwhelming. The flat sections of the trail are very accessible, and would not require a hiker to be extremely fit, nor is the lower elevation (about 900 feet) a hindrance , although Olympic NP does have extensive Alpine terrain within its boundaries. One can glimpse this from the forest floor as the mountain sides rise rather steeply on either side of the Hoh river. The few times you have a break in the forest canopy, this view is quite impressive. I have not taken any alternate routes beyond the fork to Hoh lake , but there are other , somewhat less intense destinations available as well. 4/5 stars Pros: Easily Accessible by Road, Mostly Flat, Shaded, Temperate Climate, Very Unique Bio-region Location, Natural Water Sources availible Cons: Requires NP fees to access, May be crowded, Can be humid, Semi-Isolated in relation to large Towns or Cities

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Beautiful hike, the old growth is incredible out there! We only made it up to Elk Lake due to snow, but plan on going back later in spring to see the glaciers. Good places to camp throughout the trail, and some great swimming holes if the weather cooperates!

hiking
blowdown
2 months ago

Beautiful trail. It was dry and even though I was looking forward to walking through a wet or moist rain forest I was happy to have an easy time hiking in approximately 6 miles before turning around. There were trees down across the path but it was fun to climb over them. There were monster trees and waterfalls, moss and ferns, yellow violets blooming. The wrens were singing along with the squirrels busy chatting. Heard a couple woodpeckers and saw a bird I still need to look up for identification. Found a banana slug, a small group of elk and a couple deer. Lots of elk footprints so I was hoping to see more. This is a very special place.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
3 months ago

A friend and I spent a few days backpacking along the Hoh River before a conference in Bothell last week. This early in the season, there were quite a few trees down blocking the trail, which required some climbing, shimmying, and/or brief bush-whacking off-trail, but the views were incredible and on Friday, we only saw two other people on our way to Lewis Meadows campground. Our campsite overlooked a rocky riverbed, which was dry, but we had easy water access on the far edge, which was a short walk across the rocks. When we first arrived to set up camp, we saw a black bear walk into the clearing, but it didn't seem too bothered and left quickly, although somewhat reluctantly. On Saturday, we hiked within about half a mile of Elk Lake without packs, but turned back since we planned to pack up and hike back to the trailhead that night. We also thought we might run into snow before reaching the glacier, but hadn't seen any appreciable accumulation by the point where we turned back. On our way out later that afternoon, we ran into many more people, presumably coming in to camp for the night. I would love to come back and finish the trail another time!

backpacking
6 months ago

We hiked in and spent the night. Two days wasn't enough though. You need at least three to fully experience this one. Especially if you're coming from Seattle and have to drive 3+ hours to get there. The forest is dense with vegetation, mushrooms, and towering trees. The river glistens with light that filters through the valley. The trail got a bit muddy are second day when the rains returned.

hiking
8 months ago

I only made it 4 miles out. The stretch that I hiked was a nice shaded trail that ran alongside the Hoh River.

backpacking
8 months ago

This was a fantastic 3-day backpacking trip to Blue Glacier and back. The mileage on here isn't correct. It's 17.5 miles one way to Glacier Meadows (35 roundtrip), and then about another mile to the Lateral Moraine, a spectacular view of Blue Glacier. That puts the full trail roundtrip at around 37 miles. There is another spur trail at 17.5 miles in (listed as .8 miles one way I think) to the Terminal Moraine, providing another stunning view of the glacier, this time standing high above where the glacier ends. Both of these steep-climbing trails are well worth the effort. The glacier is definitely the highlight, but the whole hike is gorgeous, with plenty of wildlife, gigantic trees covered in moss, and beautiful views of the Hoh River scattered throughout. My first night was at Mount Tom Creek (~3 miles in). My second night I camped at Elk Lake (~14 miles in), which was a nice campground in the woods. I left most of my stuff there while I hiked with a day pack (smart ranger recommendation) to the glacier and back, then packed up and hiked to Lewis Meadows for the third night. I was on my way out of the park when I stopped at Five Mile Island for lunch and decided it was too nice a spot to leave. I pitched my tent and hiked out and back in after resupplying and registering for two more nights. I definitely recommend staying at Five Mile Island either on the way in or out - it's a beautiful spot on the river, and for my stay, elk showed up before sunset both nights. I think fall is a great time of year for this hike - There are less people, and if you can time it up with good weather, it's pretty ideal. My first day was rainy and the people I saw backpacking out had been in rain the whole trip and seemed miserable. The rest of my trip was around freezing at night and sunny and 60s every day - good stuff. I'm excited to go back.

backpacking
9 months ago

I would classify this as hard, unless you are only backpacking to the 12.4 mile campsite or lower, and then day hiking to the moraine, and doing this in 3 days, 2 nights, or longer. We backpacked into Elk Lake in one day, from 8:30 am, to 4:00 pm. From Elk Lake, we started at 4:30 am and we hiked through the lateral moraine, and to the end of the ridge by 7:00 am, and it was magnificent. We were blessed with amazing weather, no clouds, and being all alone. We hiked back to Elk Lake by 9:00, packed up and hiked out with our gear by 4:15 pm. I wouldn't recommend 2 day/1 night-ing this trip. If I did it again, I'd either get all the way to Glacier Meadows on Day 1, or leave earlier on Day 1, drop off gear at Elk Lake, and summit the same day. Or just do 3 days/2 nights. We found a canceled campsite at Kalaloch beach for Sunday night, so we made a goal to get back early enough to get there, and see the sunset at the beach. We wrecked our bodies, but I don't think many people can watch the sun come up next to Blue Glacier, and then watch the sun set over the ocean from Kalaloch Beach in one day. One Note: We did the rope bridge/ladder between Elk Lake and Glacier Meadows at approx. 5:15 am, and still no sun light. No where did I read where you go after you climb down, but once at the bottom of the ladder, you walk straight left, and climb back out of the valley via the rocks.

9 months ago

Hiked about 4.5 miles into the trail before having to turn around. Will definitely be coming back here to do more of the trail.

hiking
9 months ago

We hiked a very short patch of this trail during our trip, it is an easy-going and relaxing hike! The views are amazing, and if you're lucky, you could encounter some pretty awesome wildlife!

backpacking
10 months ago

amazing trail weather you do a little bit or a lot! A perfect trail if you’re just getting into backpacking.. I camped at Five Mile Island making it a 10 mile round trip. The earlier you get there the better camping spot you get. Be sure to carry bear spray and steer clear of the yellow jackets!

10 months ago

We drove out and did the ozette loop trail first, and unfortunately it way outshined this one. Easy hike to the waterfall, which was beautiful. My kids enjoyed swimming in the river on the way out. ***** beware of yellow-jackets!!! If you have an allergy, I would suggest you DON’t hike this trail. Many of the logs have nests in them. On the way to the waterfall, one of my children got stung 3 times and on the way out, another child got stung 2 times!! ALL WHILE STAYING ON THE TRAIL.

backpacking
10 months ago

looks like it dropped right out of a book. amazing place!!!

walking
11 months ago

Pretty. The drive up was very scenic. The fresh blue water of the river was very relaxing to sit by. I even got enough courage to soak my feet in it. Very refreshing!

hiking
11 months ago

I hiked up 2 miles to Tom Creek where I was greeted by a picturesque waterfall. The trail was beautiful and shaded with a gentle climb.

hiking
11 months ago

I’ve only hiked a portion of this trail but this forest needs to be seen to be believed. So much natural beauty. I hope to go back someday to see more.

11 months ago

I did 20 miles of this trail last summer. It was rugged terrain with elevation and many challenges for a first time hiker. The scenery was breathtaking. We woke up one morning at dawn to a deer grazing 5ft from our tent. One she left, we were visited by a coyote. I'm hoping to go back so that we can hike the glacier.

11 months ago

Lovely mix of terrain. Mostly flat trail hugging the river. Great views. Mossy trees. Alleged black bear sightings, which we luckily avoided.

hiking
11 months ago

Gorgeous, unique, enjoyable hike! Not too much elevation change. Left from the HOH visitor center and hiked three miles to the waterfall and back. Gorgeous views of Olympic and the hoh river with its unique color. Recommended!!!

hiking
11 months ago

You have come this far . . Then ya gotta do a rain forest hike . . You can do a little or a lot . . we went to 5 mile camp for a 10 mile day . .mostly flat . . Perfect “rain forest” trail.

Friday, June 22, 2018

I enjoyed this one! I made it to the bridge with the waterfall and turned back so a total of 5.8 miles round trip. Very scenic and magical.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Hiked to 5 mile island a very easy 10 mile out and back. Super populated trail that leads all the way to Mt Olympus.

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