One of the most popular trails in Olympic National Park, the hall of mosses showcases some of the most beautiful aspects of the park and temperate rainforests. Olympic has one of the largest temperate rainforests in North America, and Hoh rainforest and hall of mosses in should not be missed. Discover the moss covered trees and trails that are the crown jewel of the area.
About Hall of Mosses Trail Hike
Distance: 1 mile | Elev. Gain: 78 feet | Type: Loop | Difficulty: Easy
The Hall of Mosses is one of the most beautiful and popular hikes in Olympic National Park. It takes you through some old growth rainforest and along some beautiful moss shrouded trees. The trail is actually pretty easy, there is some elevation gain, and most of it is in the beginning of the trail.
About Hoh Rainforest
Hoh Rainforest (pronounced “Hoe”) is one of the most beautiful and oldest rainforests around. The rainforest is named for the Hoh river that runs through the park from Mount Olympus to the Pacific Ocean. The name is a native name, although while there are several theories of the origin, the actual reason is uncertain. Regardless, it feels like a beautiful name for the river.
This large temperate rainforest is one of the largest in the US and thanks to the protection of the park and area, it still remains as it has for generations. I think this is the key aspect of the rainforest, getting to see this beautiful wet area with some of the oldest growth forests around.
How To Get to the Trail
The Trail is located in the Hoh Rainforest area of the park. One of the tough parts of Olympic National Park is the distance between all the places in Olympic. You’ll need to drive to Hoh Rainforest area from wherever else you are coming from. The trailhead is about an hour drive from Forks, Washington, which is the closest town (and closest area to stay) outside of the park.
The trailhead and parking area for Hall of Mosses is located next to the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center. It’s about 18 miles from the turnoff of US 101 to the parking area.
Parking is very limited and the area and trail is very popular. You should try to arrive before 10am or after 5pm if you want to visit without having to wait. You can easily wait an hour or more for a spot and to enter during peak times.
Hiking the Trail
The Trail starts close to the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center. It’s such a popular trail, just look for the signs that point in the direction of Hall of Mosses.
The trail is a mix of dirt trails and boardwalks. You’ll start the trail going into the forest area before ascending up towards to the main area of the trail. The moss covering on the trees brings an ethereal feeling to the place.
When you get to the main, the area is a loop that goes in one direction. Be sure to try to stay on the trail and follow the directions. The trail is super popular and following the direction helps with crowd management.
Be sure to take in the moss and the trail. It’s one of the oldest growth rainforests and the trees here some of the oldest as well.
One of my favorite parts of the trail was this bent over tree arch here. You actually get to head through it which is a cool feature of the trail.
Overall the trail is pretty short, it took me about 30-40 minutes to complete. Mostly because I was wandering slow through the trail. You can easily do it very quickly if you choose. But I find this more of a trail to meander and wander the payoff is the trail itself instead of something at the end
Tips & FAQS
- Arrive very early or late. It’s incredible how big the crowds are during peak times (10 am – 5 pm) and how few tourists come outside those hours. I came late day last time and I was the only one there.
- For any hikes beyond a day hike you’ll need a backpacking permit. I would check if that’s what you want to do. There quite a few even last minute.