Hoh Rainforest of Washington State – 2021 Travel Guide

When you enter Hoh Rainforest, you enter another world.

Located within the borders of Olympic National Park, the Hoh Rainforest is one of the most unique ecosystems in the United States.

Hoh Rainforest Mosses
Moss blankets the trees in Hoh Rainforest

Continuous rain fall gives the Hoh Rainforest its lush, green landscapes.

Every year, the Hoh Rainforest gets an average of nearly 12 feet of precipitation!

So, before you grab your poncho and your camera for your adventure to the Hoh Rainforest, be sure to read through this guide to get the most out of your trip!

Hoh Rain forest
Lush mosses covered the trees in Hoh Rainforest.

By reading this comprehensive travel guide, you will learn:

  • The best time to visit Hoh Rainforest
  • The best places to stay when you visit
  • What clothing to bring when you visit
  • Wildlife that calls the Hoh Rainforest Home
  • And so many more facts about Hoh Rainforest that will excite you to planning and leaving for your trip right away!
Relaxing Walkthrough of Hoh Rainforest

1. When to Go

Hoh Rainforest is accessible year-round, as it is within Olympic National Park.

When you enter the park, you will need to pay an entrance fee, present a yearly pass, or go on one of the free days offered by the national park service!

In 2021, all national parks across the U.S. will be free to enter from April 17 until April 25.

The best part about this year’s free park week is that it aligns perfectly with one of the best times of year to visit Hoh Rainforest.

As you read in the intro, Hoh Rainforest averages 12 feet of precipitation every year, with most of it falling as rain during the winter months between December and March.

While you’ll still encounter fog during your stay (this fog also contributes to that astounding amount of precipitation!) you’re much more likely to stay out of the extended down-pours that occur in the winter.

Best Time to Visit in Hoh Rain forest

When is the best time to visit Hoh Rainforest?

April is the perfect time to go because the Hoh Rainforest will have just ended its rainy season, leaving all of the trees vibrantly green and glistening with fresh moss.

Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of the free park entrance at the end of April!

If April doesn’t work, try to visit before July and August, as the heat and lack of rain during the summer months will cause the trees to lose some of its vibrant green color.

July and August are the least rainy months for the Hoh Rainforest, with a collective 4.2 inches of rain falling in both months combined!

Winter in Hoh Rainforest

Winters are enchanting in the Hoh Rainforest, especially in January. During January, the Hoh Rainforest gets a healthy snowfall, averaging about 7 inches of snow that coats the forest in a white winter blanket.

Hoh Rainforest Winter

Winter is also a great time to visit, because the crowds from the summer are gone.

Depending on what you hope to get out of your visit will determine the best time for you to go. If smaller crowds and peak amounts of greenery is what you’re after, April is the best time to go.

If you want to experience dryer weather and you don’t mind crowds, July and August will be the best times for you! And if you want to experience a winter wonderland, visit in January.

2. Where to Stay

Now that you have decided when the best time of year to go is, it’s time to decide where to stay!

Depending on your comfort level and the availability, Hoh Rainforest has a few options for lodging to make sure that you can spend as much time as you like in this enchanting forest.

Camping

If you want to get the most out of your experience, be sure to arrive as early as you can to snag one of the 72 campsites that are within Hoh Rainforest.

These sites are open all year long and are nestled along the Hoh River.

Hoh Rainforest Camping

Getting to the sites early is key here as they are first come, first served. Once they’re gone, you’ll need to look elsewhere for camping.

Be sure to bring cash or a check along with you to pay for your site. Campsites cost $24 per night, so plan to bring exact change so that you don’t end up accidentally overspending.

If you want to guarantee that you’ll have a campsite when you arrive, you can reserve a site at other campgrounds within Olympic National Park.

Kalaloch, Sol Duc, and Mora campgrounds accept reservations, but only during the summer months. Outside of the summer, these campgrounds are also first-come, first served.

Camping in Hoh Rainforest

Hotels

If roughing it isn’t your style, don’t worry! There are plenty of hotels in nearby Forks, WA.

Forks is the closest town to Hoh Rainforest, located about an hour west of it. There are plenty of options in Forks for hotel lodging.

One of the top-rated hotels is the Quillayute River Resort. According to TripAdvisor, it has received over 250 5-star reviews!

It’s located on the banks of the Quillayute River, so you’ll be able to fall asleep to the sound of running water after a long day of exploring all that the Hoh Rainforest has to offer.

Finding quality food nearby is also very easy as there are several restaurants located within 10 miles of the resort.

Backpacking in Hoh River Rainforest Trail

3. What to Bring

Packing for the weather when you visit Hoh Rainforest is a must. Pay attention to when you’ll be going to make sure that you go with the right clothing and gear to enjoy your trip!

Spring

During the months of March-May, you’ll want to be sure to pack along layers. Hoh Rainforest experiences a wide variety of temperatures during these months with highs averaging around 60°F and lows averaging around 42°F.

You’ll want to pack along the following to be sure that you’ll stay warm and dry during your stay:

  • A waterproof jacket or poncho
  • A wool or synthetic sweater
  • A wool or synthetic t-shirt
  • Non-cotton pants, avoid jeans if you can
  • Wool or synthetic socks
  • Waterproof shoes or boots
Spring Camping in Hoh Rainforeest

The reason why you don’t want to bring along cotton clothing is that cotton tends to get wet and stay wet.

With temperatures varying quite a bit and staying fairly cool, wet clothing can end a trip pretty quickly if you’re out in cold weather.

Do yourself a favor and bring wool, synthetic, and waterproof clothing when you go during the spring.

Summer

From June to September, Hoh Rainforest experiences the highest temperatures with the least amount of rainfall.

You’ll still want to bring a waterproof jacket, as Hoh Rainforest gets about 10.5 inches of rain during those months, but you won’t need to worry about temperatures being as cold as they were during the spring.

On average, the temperature in Hoh Rainforest gets as high as 72°F and as low as 49°F.

You’ll still want to pack along some layers so that you’ll be nice and comfortable during the evening, but you more than likely won’t need to use a lot of layers during the day.

The material that your clothing is made out of isn’t as important as it is during other times of the year due to the warmer temperatures and smaller amount of rain fall.

During the summer months, bring along:

  • A waterproof jacket or poncho
  • A sweater or hoodie made out of the material of your choice.
  • T-shirts made out of the material of your choice
  • Shorts or pants made out of the material of your choice
  • Socks made out of the material of your choice
  • Waterproof shoes or boots

Fall

Much like the Spring months, Fall will make you want to bundle up and bring non-cotton clothing items.

The months of October through December see a marked increase in rain and a decrease in the average daily temperatures.

The average high for these months is 51°F and the average low is 38°F.

The Hoh Rainforest sees about 24 inches of rain during these months as well, with the most rain falling during November.

If you plan on visiting the Hoh Rainforest in the Fall, be sure to bring along:

  • A waterproof jacket or poncho
  • A set of rain pant or a rain skirt
  • A wool or synthetic sweater
  • A wool or synthetic t-shirt
  • Non-cotton pants, avoid jeans if you can
  • Wool or synthetic socks
  • Waterproof shoes or boots

Winter

Winter in the Hoh Rainforest is awesome because there are few people in the park and snow blankets the forest.

Winter Camping in Hoh Rain Forest

January through March is still pretty chilly, with highs averaging at 48°F and lows averaging at 35°F.

The best chance to see snow in Hoh Rainforest is in January as January sees about 7 inches of snowfall.

If you plan on visiting during the Winter, be sure to bring:

  • A waterproof jacket or poncho
  • A wool or synthetic sweater
  • A wool or synthetic t-shirt
  • Non-cotton pants, avoid jeans if you can
  • Wool or synthetic socks
  • Waterproof shoes or boots

4. What You’ll See

Hoh Rainforest is home to a wide variety of animals, so be on the lookout!

Animals that can be found on Hoh Rainforest

The best time for viewing wildlife is during the early morning and during the evening, just before the sun goes down.

This is the time when animals are most active.

Below is a list of animals that call the Hoh Rainforest home, and it is organized from most commonly seen to rarely seen.

Common:

  • Townsend’s moles
  • Deer mice
  • Black bears
  • Roosevelt’s elk
  • Black-tail deer
  • Cougars
  • River otters
  • Bob cats
  • Spotted skunks

Less Common:

  • Northern water shrews
  • Snow moles
  • Silver-haired bats
  • Mazama pocket gophers

Rare:

  • Townsend’s big-eared bats
  • Porcupines
  • Red Fox
  • Martens

5. What to Know

Hoh Rainforest is one of the most unique ecosystems in North America.

It’s been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world heritage site, which means that it has “outstanding universal value.”

Hoh Rain forest

The benefits of being a UNESCO site are amazing and will ensure that the Hoh Rainforest is cared for so that generations of people are able to enjoy it.

UNESCO sites enjoy international recognition and preservation efforts.

They also are advertised to tourists around the world, so communities that are nearby UNESCO sites like Fork, WA enjoy the economic stimulus of thousands of tourists visiting every year.

When you visit, be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles to ensure that you do your part to keep Hoh Rainforest pristine for everyone who visits.

Remember these 7 principles:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare.
  2. Travel and camp only on durable surfaces.
  3. Throw away trash properly.
  4. Take only pictures (don’t take things you find out of the forest).
  5. Minimize the impacts of campfires by only making them in designated campfire rings at the campgrounds and making sure that they are completely out before walking away.
  6. Respect wildlife by only taking pictures and keeping a safe distance away.
  7. Be considerate of others enjoying the park.

Hoh Rainforest Map

Final Thoughts

Hoh Rainforest is by far one of the most amazing spots that you can visit.

Its towering trees, lush green forest, and proximity to the Hoh River make this an ideal place to lose yourself in.

Lodging is easy to figure out, so you can extend your stay for as short or as long as you like.

With plenty of camping and hotels nearby, there is sure to be something that will accommodate any traveler.

Be sure to pack appropriately for the season that you plan on visiting and be on the lookout for wildlife.

And always be sure to leave Hoh Rainforest as pristine as you found it so that people can enjoy its beauty for years to come!