Our last day as OPNs started with some hiking in the Hoh Rain Forest. (PDF warning)
The entrance road is only a few miles south of Forks off of 101, but it’s another 12 miles or so to the ranger shack (where you purchase your $15 permit) and then six more winding miles to the visitor center and various trailheads. Along the way there are several turnouts for viewing the Hoh River, buying some snacks or just looking at big trees – really big trees, like the aptly named Big Spruce Tree:
After gettin’ learned up up at the visitor center, we took the short (about a mile) Hall of Moss Trail, which starts and ends at the parking lot. It’s a cool and informative jaunt through marshy, mossy forest. Every few steps, you can stop and read all about the “circle of life” in one of the rainiest rain forests in the world.
Ya gotta do the 1.2-mile Spruce Nature Trail, too, because it takes you right by the Hoh River.
(Ever seen that movie “Two Pimps and a Hoh”?)
Of course, real men visit the Hoh Rain Forest to do the Hoh River Trail. It’s a 17.4-mile hike (one way) up to Glacier Meadows where, we’re told, you can get excellent views of Mount Olympus. Finishing that hike, which turns steep at the 13-mile mark as you climb from 600 feet above sea level to 4,300, is now on our Bucket List.
Ruby Beach is magnificent. It’s a few miles north of Kalaloch Lodge. A short, simple downhill trek puts you at the mouth of Cedar Creek with great views of Abbey Island just off shore.
We hiked up and down the beach a bit and climbed on the acres of logs piled up near the base of the bluff. (Don’t do this at high tide; they’re unstable.) Then we headed to the lodge for a late lunch/early dinner before heading back to Tacoma.
All in all, this was an incredible – albeit quick – vacation. We got a taste for the Oly Pen and kept talking about how we need to go back and focus on a few of our favorites from among the ten destinations we hit in four short days.