South Fork Hoh River Trail

Olympic Experimental State Forest, Washington

Distance4.6mi
Elevation Gain1,175ft
Trailhead Elevation728ft
Top859ft
Elevation Min/Max710/859ft
Elevation Start/End728/728ft

South Fork Hoh River Trail

South Fork Hoh River Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Jefferson County, Washington. It is within Olympic Experimental State Forest and Olympic National Park. It is 4.6 miles long and begins at 728 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 9.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,175 feet. This trail connects with the following: Big Flat Trail.

South Fork Hoh River Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"If your idea of experiencing the Olympic rain forest is sans bucketloads of people, cast your attention to the Hoh’s little known South Fork. Local fly fishermen and -women are familiar with this wild and lonely valley, but most hikers aren’t. Getting to the trailhead can be confusing, but the hike is easy. The payoff is solitude.

The trail starts on state forest land that has been intensively logged over the decades. Through scrappy trees choked in mosses, descend 100 feet to a flat outwash area.

Dogs are prohibited."

"This remote trail off ers a quiet stroll through the rainforest and big timber along the South Fork of the Hoh River. From the trailhead the path descends through a stand of young spruce, passing a hairpin turn on a closed logging road before veering away to the east. The forest is less dense beyond the park boundary, with a complex over-story featuring a variety of canopy heights. Huge Sitka spruce and western hemlock tower above all, while their younger relatives vie for openings in the canopy. Vine maple is a common understory shrub, and a variety of forbs and ferns decorate the forest floor.

The descent continues past a fair-size stream before dropping the traveler onto Big Flat, a broad swath of bottomland on the north bank of the South Fork. Potential campsites abound as the trail continues eastward just out of sight of the river. Ancient spruce trees are spaced hundreds of feet apart, with an understory sometimes crowded with red alder and vine maple and at other times almost entirely absent."

"So, you want to explore the rain forest but don’t relish the thought of fighting the crowds of tourists in the Hoh. Well, have I got a secret for you. The nearby South Fork Hoh River goes through a rain forest valley that is nearly as grand as the larger main stem of the river, but it sees less than 1% of the visitors.

Starting in a dense moss-covered forest of relatively young Sitka spruces and western hemlocks, the needle-covered path descends from the parking area, 1 losing about 100 feet of elevation in just under 0.2 mile to a nearby gravel road. After almost touching this road at a curve in that vehicle route, your trail leaves civilization and enters a shady realm of intensely green second-growth forest. Sword ferns and mosses cover most of the rocky forest floor, while in May the blossoms of oxalis and trillium add white highlights to this land of green."

"This remote trail offers a quiet stroll through the rainforest and big timber along the South Fork of the Hoh River. The bottomlands of the South Fork are typified by grassy meadows and thickets of hardwoods.

A few ancient conifers rise over all. Due to its remoteness, the South Fork of the Hoh receives relatively few visitors and thus is a good rainforest destination for solitude seekers."

South Fork Hoh River Trail Reviews

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1/14/2007
the trail has lots of trees down and had 1-2" of snow which has melted now but there is still snow in the surrounding hills there were a few elk by the park entrance and fresh cougar tracks near big flat.the river is running clear and moderatly low. oh yes and plenty of rain!!
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Trail Information

Olympic Experimental State Forest
Nearby City
Olympic Experimental State Forest
Parks
Kid-friendly
Accessibility
Moderate
Skill Level
Fishing, Camping
Additional Use
Olympic National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Owl Mountain; Custom Correct Mount Olympus Climber’s Map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018