Olympic Peninsula Tours: Hoh Rainforest & Rialto Beach
If you want to experience the isolated and dramatic Olympic Mountains, your visit will be incomplete without a visit to the remarkable and rare Hoh rainforest.
On the west slopes of the Olympic Mountains lies a misty and moist landscape of giant, big leaf maples, and a vast variety of shrubs and flowers. The weather systems coming out of the Pacific Ocean make this area a temperate rainforest. In the summer months of July and August and into September, little moisture is available for this dense forest. The Hoh forest receives the bulk of its moisture in the winter months, with constant rain and thick mists –up to 140 or more inches a year.
These conditions are ideal for Douglas fir, western hemlock and Sitka spruce.
Within a fairly narrow range of the rain forest, the largest recorded of these and other species exist. Their size is often exaggerated by heavy club mosses hanging in festoons from branches high above the forest floor. While it is certainly wetter here during the winter and spring months, it is no less impressive. You just need to wear boots and a rain jacket!
If you are leaving from Sequim, we recommend you get an early start – head towards Forks by 8:o0 a.m. and you will get to the Hoh by 11 a.m., or before. Take a walk on the deep forest trail: “Hall of Mosses.” With the exception of a short steep bit at the beginning, this is an easy walk with a number of stops along the way.
Pack a picnic lunch, or stop in Forks for a burger or something of the like before heading towards the coast and Rialto Beach. It will take you about 1.5 hours to drive there from Forks. Rialto Beach is just north of the mouth of the Sol Duc River and Quilleute Indian Reservation. Do some beach combing or sit on a beached log and contemplate the Universe.
After a big trip like that, some wine tasting on the way home will be the perfect way to end an exhilarating day on the stunning Olympic Peninsula!