Visiting the Magical Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park
Have you ever dreamed of visiting a mystical forest straight out of a fairytale? Look no further than the Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park! With its dense canopy of ancient trees, vibrant carpets of moss, and winding trails, the Hall of Mosses is a haven for nature lovers and hikers alike. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan your visit to this enchanted wonderland.
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To get to the Hall of Mosses you'll need to enter Olympic National Park at the he Hoh Rainforest entrance which is located in the western part of Olympic National Park.
Portland, OR to the Hall of Mosses: 250 mi | 4 hr 36 min | Google Maps
Seattle, WA to the Hall of Mosses: 216 mi | 4 hr 6 min | Google Maps
Hurricane Ridge to Hoh Rainforest: 105 mi | 2 hr 34 min | Google Maps
What is the Hoh Rainforest?
The Hoh Rainforest, nestled within the Olympic National Park, is truly a marvel of nature. It's one of the world's few temperate rainforests, a lush, verdant sanctuary with a climate that encourages extravagant growth. The forest's towering trees, some over 500 years old, are cloaked in thick layers of moss and ferns, creating a landscape that not only feels ancient but otherworldly. Enormous Sitka spruces and Western Hemlocks dominate this forest, reaching heights up to 300 feet. The Hoh Rainforest is also home to an abundant variety of wildlife, from Roosevelt elk to northern spotted owls. This biodiversity, coupled with the year-round moisture from frequent rainfall and fog, makes the Hoh Rainforest a thriving, vibrant ecosystem--a site of profound natural beauty that is sure to leave you in awe. The presence of such a unique and spectacular environment within our reach is what makes the Hoh Rainforest, and therefore, the Hall of Mosses, so special.
Do I need a hike pass for the Hall of Mosses?
No, you don't actually need a hike pass for the Hall of Mosses trail. Unlike some other trails in the park, this one is pass-free, making your planning a little bit easier. That said, you'll still have to wait your turn at the Hoh Rainforest entrance station and pay the park's admission fee unless you have one of the NPS annual passes. Even though you don't need a pass specifically for the hike, all visitors must stop here first. So, make sure to factor in a little extra time for this when planning your day.
What time should I arrive at the Hoh Rainforest entrance station?
To ensure a smooth start to your adventure at the Hoh Rainforest, it's recommended to arrive at the entrance station as early as possible, preferably before 8 a.m. during peak season. This is when the park tends to be less crowded, allowing you to explore the Hall of Mosses trail at your own pace, without the rush of the mid-day crowd. Plus, the soft morning light filtering through the moss-draped trees makes for an absolutely magical experience, offering incredible photo opportunities. It's worth noting that during the peak summer season, the entrance station can get busy with longer wait times (you can wait in line over two hours at the entrance station!), so an early start will let you make the most of your day in this verdant wonderland.
What to expect in the Hall of Mosses
As you enter the Hall of Mosses, prepare to be transported to another world. The forest is dominated by towering Sitka spruce and western hemlock trees, some of which are over 300 feet tall and up to 500 years old. These giants provide the perfect environment for the lush carpets of mosses and ferns that cover the forest floor and tree trunks. Allow yourself plenty of time to wander the trails, listening to the gentle trickle of the nearby Hoh River and marveling at the delicate ecosystems that make up the forest.
One of the most unique and unforgettable features of the Hall of Mosses is its suspension bridge, which spans a peaceful creek. The bridge is a great spot to stop and take in the serene surroundings. Keep an eye out for the occasional elk that may wander nearby.
Keep in mind that the Hall of Mosses is one of the most popular spots in Olympic National Park and it can get busy with lots of fellow visitors hoping to experience the same incredible things that you are. The Hall of Mosses sees about 2,500 people a day on the trail, so plan ahead and be ready to travel a bit slower than you might be used to traveling.
How long is the Hall of Mosses trail?
The Hall of Mosses trail is a relatively short trip, spanning just 1.1 miles round trip. However, don't let the length deter you. The trail's charm lies not in its length but in the otherworldly beauty and serenity it offers. The trail is mostly flat, making it accessible for all levels of fitness and age groups. Despite its brevity, plan to spend at least an hour here so you can fully immerse yourself in the natural splendor, take pictures, and perhaps spot some wildlife. Remember, it's not about how far you go, but how attentively you can explore! The Hall of Mosses is a place that invites you to slow down, marvel at the moss-laden trees, and breathe in the pure rainforest air.
The Hall of Mosses is more accessible than many trails, but it still isn't 100% inclusive for those with mobility impairments due to uneven ground, short but steep incline sections, and steps throughout. The trail is well-maintained, largely flat, and paved in certain sections for easier access. However, it's worth noting that some parts of the trail can get muddy and slippery, particularly after rain. We saw families with strollers on this trail but, truthfully, it didn't look particularly fun. Wheelchairs will be impossible on the trail since they will be much more difficult than a stroller to pick up and carry down steps and over large tree roots. Guests with crutches and other mobility assistance technology will also have a difficult time navigating the trail due to the natural and rugged nature of national parks. For a more mobility inclusive option we'd recommend visiting Multnomah Falls just outside of Portland, Oregon.
Are pets allowed in the Hall of Mosses?
While we all love to enjoy the great outdoors with our furry friends, it's important to note that pets are not allowed in the Hall of Mosses trail. This rule is in place to protect the delicate ecosystem of the Hoh Rainforest and to ensure the safety of the wildlife that reside in it. So, while Fido may be a perfect hiking companion in other locations, he will have to sit this one out. But don't worry! There are several pet-friendly spots within the Olympic National Park (including Kalaloch Beach) where you can enjoy a walk with your four-legged friend.
Weather in the Hoh Rainforest and the Hall of Mosses
Another important consideration for your visit to the Hall of Mosses is the weather. The Hoh Rainforest is one of the wettest places in the United States, receiving an average of 12-14 feet of rain per year. Be sure to bring rain gear and dress in layers, as the weather can be unpredictable and can range from cool and misty to mild and sunny.
Wildlife and caring for nature in Olympic National Park
Lastly, remember to respect the natural environment around you. The Hall of Mosses is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including black bears, cougars, and bald eagles. Keep a safe distance from any animals you encounter and avoid feeding them. Pack out all your trash and leave no trace of your visit behind. Remember, the magic of the Hall of Mosses can only be preserved if we all do our part to keep it a wild and pristine place.
The Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest is a place of unparalleled beauty and wonder. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply looking for a peaceful nature escape, a visit to the Hall of Mosses is a must-see experience. Remember to plan ahead, stay safe, and respect the natural world around you. Most of all, allow yourself to be immersed in the enchanting surroundings of the Hall of Mosses and let its magic leave you with a sense of awe and wonder.
Like this post? Checkout our other travel guides from Washington and Olympic National Park.
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We're Chris and Sara
A creative husband and wife duo from a small-town in Tennessee with passion for all things travel. Checkout the links below to join us on our past, present, and future adventures!