Hiking Olympic National Park: The Hall of Mosses Trail
The Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park receives an average of 12 feet of rain per year. The lush plants, world-record trees, and unique wildlife in this part of northwestern Washington make up one of the most interesting ecosystems in the National Park Service. One of the most popular hikes in the park, “The Hall of Mosses Trail” travels through the Hoh Rain Forest. With minimal elevation gain and easy terrain, the 0.8 mile loop hike is perfect for all the hikers in your family, including those junior rangers. If you have time for only one hike in Olympic National Park, Park Chasers recommends it’s the Hall of Mosses Trail.
Planning Your Visit to the Hall of Mosses Trail
The trailhead for the Hall of Mosses Trail begins at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor’s Center. Located 6 miles after the Hoh Entrance station, visitors can park in one of three lots adjacent to the trailhead. The Visitor’s Center is open daily during the summer and Friday through Sunday in off-peak seasons. Stop in the ranger’s station to collect your passport stamp and a map before hitting the trail.
As soon as you leave the parking area, hikers know they are in rain forest. The air becomes cooler and the vegetation a vibrant leafy green. The first 0.1 miles of the Hall of Mosses Trail loop is called the “Mini-Trail.” It is a paved/boardwalk trail that the National Park Service describes as ‘accessible-with-assistance.’ Watch for plant and tree labels that will help you identify record Sitka spruce and maple trees later in the hike. Midway through the Mini-Trail loop, a sign will designate the start of the Hall of Mosses Trail.
Many of the trees in this area tower above 200 feet tall. Walking the trail feels like walking in the Amazon or Jurassic Park. The actual “Hall of Mosses” is a grove of maple trees covered in thick spikemoss, hanging dense and green. Roosevelt elk and banana slugs can be frequently spotted along the trail. Lastly, the entire Hoh Rain Forest has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Like mentioned above, each year more than 12 feet of rain falls in this area of the park. Consider this in your wardrobe decisions for the Hoh Rain Forest and all of Olympic National Park. You will get wet and you should be prepared for it. Waterproof footwear and a good rain jacket are essentials for this hike.
- There are several other day hikes and backcountry trips that leave from this trailhead. It’s a busy area and you may have to circle a time or two for parking. If you’re looking for a solitary experience in Olympic, this may not be the best choice.
- Camping in the area can be found at the nearby Kalaloch Campground. Other sites within driving distance include world record trees and the Ruby Beach area.
- For a complete itinerary, visit Park Chaser’s Olympic National Park Trip Recap.