Thursday, July 12, 2018

Olympic National Park - HOH Rain Forest

Elwha Dam RV Park
Port Angeles, WA
July 9, 2018

Finally, we are here !  

Elwha Dam RV Park in Port Angeles is our home base to explore as much of the Olympic Peninsula as possible during our month long stay here.

Olympic National Park (making up about 1,440 square miles of the Peninsula) provides lots of opportunities for adventures and a great place to get started.  This national park welcomes visitors to explore three distinct ecosystems: subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific shore.  
Because of the park's relatively unspoiled condition and outstanding scenery, the United Nations has declared Olympic NP both an international biosphere reserve and a World Heritage site. 

Our first adventure took us to the temperate forest.  HOH Rain Forest is about a 2 hour drive from our campsite, but road construction on US 101 west added another half hour.  

We enjoyed the drive along Lake Crescent...

well except for the logging trucks that sped by us on the two-lane highway.  

Once through Forks, we made a left turn onto Upper HOH Road and everything changed.  Almost instantly, we felt we were entering an "enchanted land".  

The road curves it's way along the HOH River

 through a lush green forest.

Just after entering the pay station, we saw several cars parked along the side of the road.  Being a little nosy, we parked and I went to investigate.  It was a herd of female elk and calves.  Our lucky day !  

I made a quick stop at the Visitor Center for maps.  From earlier research, I knew there were a couple of short trails that fit our time frame (which we try to limit to 6-7 hours because of our pups) behind the VC.  Off we went. 

As we crossed a bridge, there was a lone elk grazing for lunch.  So cool to watch her munching away and enjoying her day...she sure made my day !

The rest of the hike was an explosion of green...

... powerful Sitka Spruce, western hemlock, and western red cedar trees measuring up to 25 feet in diameter and over 300 feet tall...

...and breathing in the scents of the forest !  Ahhhh...

Nurselogs are an important part of the regrowth in the forest.  Downed decayed trees provide warmth, moisture and minerals that seedlings need.  Seedlings don't always survive on the tangled forest floor.

It's a lot to take the thick beards of moss that feed only on air and moisture.  The rain forest atmosphere provides all the moisture and wind-blown nutrients they need.

And the denser clusters of mosses on big leaf maples.

We certainly enjoyed our visit to the rain forest taking in as much as possible during our short visit.  It really is an enchanted land. 

We were gone right at 7 hours.  What a warm welcome we had when we got home...lots of love greeted us at he door !

Until next time, enjoy the adventure and...
This is where the forest gnomes go...that's some big tree!

Beautiful trails meander through the rain forest.  There were other folks there, but it never seemed to be over crowded. Sweet!
The pleasant drive on Hwy 101 west...after all the road construction!


  1. The Hoh Rainforest was a wonderful area. You certainly chose the right day to make the trip with the elk sightings:) They are so beautiful. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise that we couldn't get a month at El Wah and had to split our visit between there and the KOA on the east side of Sequim. I didn't realize just how vast the park was and how far of a drive each section was. We did move to a nice park in Forks, also. Driving the MH along that road to Forks with those log trucks was "interesting!" If you get a chance, make sure you visit Sol Duc Falls and do the loop hike. That was the most beautiful rain forest. If you have a drizzly day, this would be the area to visit. It made the rain forest so perfect. We were totally alone except for the falls themselves. Everyone else did the short hike just to see the falls. Thanks for taking us back. Such a lovely place.

    1. Sol Duc Falls is on our list Pam...The Lover's Lane Loop sounds awesome. I'm beginning to think a month here is not long enough to scratch everything off the list. We decided on a month stay at Elwha for convenience and because its pretty much an equal drive in either direction for exploring. We love it here and the pups are very happy!

  2. That is such a beautiful place. Thanks for the great shots of it.

  3. Love that you saw elk! During our entire summer on the OP I don't think we actually saw any elk...just plenty of droppings and foot prints to tease us!

    1. The elk sure made my day Lisa. We never see wildlife...I was sooooo excited!

  4. Hope you are able to see as much of OP as want. The travel time can an issue, especially with the lavender in bloom - which draws a few too many tourists :) There's so much to do in and around Forks, Rialto Beach, La Push we spent a few days at Mora Campground. Neah Bay is worth the drive too. Looking forward to more of your posts from the Rain Forests.

    1. Thank you Jeff. We are having a ball. You would thing a month is a long time to explore, but thee is soooo much here, I'm thinking some things might not get scratched off the list...a really good reason to return ! Neah Bay is definitely a to do, Rialto or Ruby Beach is also at the top of the list so maybe we can squeeze in La Push too. I've heard it is a very quaint little fishing town. I would love that!

  5. Wow... I LOVE all that green! It's just so beautiful and the elk.... awesome! Your photos are just fantastic. I can definitely see where a month - or more - would be well spent in a place like that!

    1. Thank you Laura! We are having a great time and the weather is just so dang awesome!

  6. Your photos are making me want to turn around and return to that beautiful area!! Your Elk are so wonderful, lucky you. We loved every place we visited, especially La Push (where we stayed four nights by the shore), Lake Crescent (the lodge is lovely as is the drive along the back shore), and the site of the previous Glines Canyon Dam just up river from your park. Sequim is on our short list of places we could "land". The logging trucks are the worst. Have a great time!!

    1. It’s for sure the weather can not be beat Jodee! Even the winters here are relatively mild. La Push is on the list to visit before we many people have said it is a must! We haven’t explored Sequim yet, spent the morning here in Port Angeles...yes, it’s on the list too as well as Port much to do, so little time!

  7. A month may not be enough, I would like a repeat visit there, perhaps the same month that you are now. How lucky you got to see the herd of Elk!