Welcome to the enchanting world of Olympic National Park’s Hall of Mosses trail, where nature’s magic comes alive. Tucked away in the heart of Washington State and the Hoh Rainforest, this mesmerizing trail offers a captivating journey through a lush and verdant temperate rainforest.
As you step onto the path, be prepared to immerse yourself in a landscape straight out of a fairytale: towering ancient trees draped with delicate mosses and ferns, creating an ethereal ambiance that will leave you breathless.
The Hall of Mosses is a must-visit, family-friendly destination for anyone yearning to connect with nature’s awe-inspiring beauty and doesn’t want to commit to a long hike.
A Guide to the Hall of Mosses in Olympic National Park
Here’s what it was like to hike in the Hall of Mosses.
Hiking around the Hall of Mosses
It’s truly iconic in there – when it rains. I visited in the middle of September of 2023 after a week of rain in the area and found it more magical than I could have imagined.
And this was a surprise because I’ve been to the Hoh Rainforest twice before and found it to be pretty ‘blah.’ I honestly didn’t really enjoy it, and the photography opportunities were not great.
But this time, the place came alive in the rain, and I couldn’t pull myself away.
Overall, the Hall of Mosses is a 1.2-mile loop that brings you slightly uphill to start into a lush forest with tons of moss hanging around. Hence the name. As you’re hiking the loop, it’s predominately flat and is on well-packed dirt (unless it’s raining, then it is puddles).
Usually, the Hoh Rainforest is crowded – especially on weekends in the summer – but midweek on a rainy day, only a dozen or so people were enjoying the Hall of Mosses with me. I just hung around and soaked in the views (and the raindrops) and had a wonderful day!
What you need to know about the Hoh Rainforest hike
Where is the Hall of Mosses trail?
The Hall of Mosses Trail can be found at the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center. Walk a hundred yards past the visitor center, and you’ll see a sign pointing you left for this beautiful trail inside the Hoh Rainforest.
The Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center is 17 miles off Highway 101, 50 minutes from Forks, and four hours from Seattle. (Yes, unfortunately, it is a long drive.)
Is Hall of Mosses worth it?
Most definitely! The Hall of Mosses is 100% worth it. It’s a stunning assortment of trees, ferns, moss, and other plants. The entire family will love it, and it’ll only take up a short amount of time, allowing you to explore more areas like the Hoh River Trail or the Spruce Nature Trail.
How long does it take to hike the Hall of Mosses?
Depending on how quickly you want to walk through it (I went slow for photography reasons), it could take you anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour. But it shouldn’t take you any longer than that.
But you will love the time on the loop trail and really feel connected to the trees and ferns.
What is the difference between the Hall of Mosses and the Spruce Nature Trail?
These are similar trails, though the Spruce Nature Trail is nearly flat and right by the parking lot. This is an excellent way for kids to get introduced to the Hoh Rainforest. In all, it’s about a 1.4-mile loop.
The Hall of Mosses, near the Spruce Nature Trail, is a mile walk with some elevation gain (not a lot, but some). It’s also good for families and is slightly further into the rainforest.
Other Trails in the Area
The Hoh River Trail is a 17-mile trail that leads all the way to the Blue Glacier in the center of Olympic National Park. The trail is mostly flat for the first 11 or so miles before gradually increasing as you get nearer the glacier.
Here are some turnaround points per the Olympic NP website:
- First River access (0.9 miles/ 2.9 km one way)
- Mineral Creek Falls (2.7 miles/ 4.3 one way)
- Cedar Grove (4.0 miles/ 6.4 km one way)
- 5-mile Island (5.0 miles/ 8.0 km one way)
When is the best time to visit the Hall of Mosses and Olympic National Park?
This is very subjective. But I personally believe it’s best to visit in the light rain or just after a rain. The rainforest is much more vibrant and calm after it has rained and is way less crowded. This means the best time to check it out is in the fall, winter, and spring. If you do go when it’s wet, make sure to have waterproof boots.
I’ve visited in the summer and in the rain, and they don’t compete.
It’s all dried out in the summer, and the moss and ferns don’t look well. Obviously, most people visit Washington in the summer due to the amazing hiking, but the Hoh Rainforest is not at its peak then.
Where should you stay to explore the Hoh Rainforest?
My best suggestion to to stay in or near Forks, WA. This is a small town with a low amount of amenities, but it makes for a great home base. It’s also the closest town. Next up would be Port Angeles which is much more of a city and will have more options for lodging and food.
Additionally, there are campgrounds along the way that will require just a little bit of research.
Photos from the Hall of Mosses trail
FAQ: Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park
Are pets allowed on the Hoh River Trail?
No pets are allowed on the Hoh River Trail or any trail not specified below. Pets are allowed on the following trails:
- Peabody Creek Trail (Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles)
- Rialto Beach parking lot to Ellen Creek (1/2 mile)
- The beaches between the Hoh and Quinault Reservations (Kalaloch area)
- Madison Falls Trail (Elwha)
- Spruce Railroad Trail (North shore of Lake Crescent)
- July Creek Loop Trail (North shore of Lake Quinault)
Can I fly drones in the National Park?
No drones are allowed in the National Parks. Please leave them at home or at least in the car.
Wrapping up – Hall of Mosses trail in the Hoh Rainforest
The Hall of Mosses trail in Olympic National Park is an enchanting experience that immerses visitors in the beauty and grandeur of nature.
With its lush greenery, towering trees adorned with delicate mosses, and tranquil atmosphere, it offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you are an avid hiker or simply someone who appreciates the wonders of the natural world, this trail is a must-visit destination.
So lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera, and prepare to be captivated by the magical allure of Hall of Mosses – an unforgettable journey through one of America’s most stunning national parks.
Until next time, thanks for reading, and stay safe!