Hey guys! My name is Ashley Johnson, better known on Instagram as @appalachianash. I’m married to the love of my life Joe and we love to go hiking and travel. In this article, I will be sharing my experiences in the otherworldly Hoh Rainforest which is located on the Olympic Peninsula.
But first, a little bit about me! I grew up on a farm right outside the Smoky Mountains in a town called Blaine, Tennessee. My parents took us to the Smokies almost every weekend for picnics, hiking, etc. They ingrained in me a love for the outdoors. I’m an Insurance Agent by profession, so by the end of the week I’m dying to get out of the office and into nature.
My parents and grandparents inspired my passion for hiking and travel. My parents took me, my brother, and my sister on a big vacation once a year and showed us some of the most beautiful places in the eastern US. My grandparents also love to travel and have been to all 50 states.
A Wonderful Trip to Washington
I have wanted to visit Washington for quite some time now. My husband and I love to hike and so the Pacific Northwest has been on my list for years. We flew into Seattle and immediately drove down into Olympic National Park. We spent three days exploring that region, then went down into Oregon to see the Columbia River Gorge – including Multnomah Falls.
After that, we drove up to Mount Rainier National Park, but unfortunately we were socked in and had zero visibility (that just gives us reason to visit again)! After Mount Rainier, we went up to North Cascades National Park and thoroughly enjoyed our time. Washington is such an amazing place! There are many beautiful spots within a few hours drive of each other.
My Experience at the Amazing Hoh Rainforest
I had seen pictures of Hoh Rainforest a few years ago and immediately added it to my list. I didn’t realize at the time that it’s located in Olympic National Park, so of course I was excited that I would be in near proximity to it. We got there early in the morning to avoid crowds (that is the best way we have found to avoid crowds), and it was misty and otherworldly.
We were heading down to Oregon that day as well – so we didn’t have as much time there as I would have liked. But we spent a good couple of hours there exploring the rainforest. Our favorite trail was the Hall of Mosses. Those trees and ferns blew my mind! The ferns are huge and the trees are draped in the most beautiful and enchanting bright green moss.
You are surrounded by these massive trees draped in moss. I have a photo of that one spot on my Instagram – it felt so otherworldly and I know that this might sound goofy but it honestly reminded me of Jurassic Park! I felt like I was going to see a T-Rex come running through at any moment. This experience was so different to what I’m used to on the East Coast.
Tick the Hall of Mosses off your Bucket List
Unfortunately, we only had a couple of hours at Hoh Rainforest and I wish so badly that we could have spent a couple of days in that area. It definitely gives me reason to return there though! I recommend choosing the Hall of Mosses trail if you are short on time (like I was). It’s a short and sweet hike and not that difficult as well – perfect for casual hikers and families.
There are other trails in that area that I didn’t have time to hike, but I can’t wait to go back! Also, the drive into Hoh Rainforest alone is incredible. I have a photo of that on my Instagram too. It feels like you are all alone in the world (or at least at 6am it did) and the trees are surrounding you with this beautiful moss sticking to each limb. It was breathtaking!
Favorite Memory from Visiting Hoh Rainforest
My favorite memory from Hoh Rainforest was seeing a banana slug. I had never seen one before and it was a massive slug (Joe even laid a pen down beside it to give perspective of the full size). We weren’t sure of what kind it was until we saw a sign as we were leaving that explained what banana slugs are, and how many teeth they have! Such a cool experience.
Where to Stay near Hoh Rainforest
If you have ever seen the Twilight movies, you will recognize Forks, Washington. It’s near Hoh Rainforest and that is where we stayed. There are a lot of beaches in that area that you can visit (my favorite was Rialto Beach). And if you love Twilight movies, there are tons of things there for fans of the movies. The whole town really goes all out on the vampire vibes.
Need to Know Before you Go
While visiting Hoh Rainforest, please follow Leave No Trace principles. Don’t litter and leave it better than you found it (pick up any trash you might see). It’s also important to remember not to go off trail in fragile places like this as repeated weight can destroy fragile plant life. Above all, respect nature.
Since Hoh Rainforest is a rainforest, rainy/foggy weather should be expected. Always go out prepared with a rain jacket and dress in layers. It’s always a smart idea to have a map of the area if you are going on a trail you have never been on before. Lastly, bring food and water, and have fun!