Amazing Rainforests in the State of Washington
Four beautiful temperate rainforests, Hoh, Quinault, Queets, and Bogachiel, make their home in Olympic National Park. At a time when many people’s vacation plans have necessitated change, visiting and exploring the national parks in the United States is an excellent option. The rainforests in Olympic National Park in Washington state are breathtaking and magical, and receive 12-14 feet of rain annually. Take a walk through rainforests that rival the beauty of those created for fantasy films.
Just under a mile in length, the Hall of Moses Trail is a beautiful and easy hike for almost everyone. Rich green moss covers trees and flows like velvet over their branches. The roots of toppled trees appear as aged works of art, and tree stumps, with numerous door-like openings, appear to be home to a myriad of fairies.
The Spruce Nature Trail is a great 1.25 mile easy hike along the beautiful Hoh River. You’ll enjoy lush meadows bordering the river, and may get a glimpse of the Roosevelt Elk herd. In the spring you’ll see colorful wildflowers. There are many excellent photo opportunities along this trail, including wildlife, birds, and scenic views.
For those looking for a longer hike, the Hoh River Trail is a 17.3 trek to Glacier Meadows and Blue Glacier on Mount Olympus. The first five miles of this trail are the most popular and quite easy. One mile in you’ll see the Hoh River rushing by. You will also enjoy views of Mount Tom and the High Divide. A bit further are two small waterfalls and the beautiful Cougar Creek cedar grove. Five Mile Island, the favorite destination for the majority of hikers, is 5.3 miles. A large gravel bar forms this meadow area where you may spot Elk. For those continuing on, there are fewer hikers and the trail becomes wilder as it passes near the source of the Hoh River and winds through dense woods before beginning its ascent. The final four miles will have you climbing up 3,000 feet through narrow valleys and crossing the High Hi Bridge over the large gorge below.
Quinault is home to the Valley of the Giants. The largest Sitka Spruce in the world resides here and stands at 191 feet tall. The valley is also home to the largest Douglas Fir in the world at 302 feet tall, largest Red Cedar in the world at 174 feet tall, and the largest Mountain Hemlock in the world at 152 feet tall. Three other giants live in the valley and hold largest in the United States titles. These two trees are the largest Yellow Cedar at 129 feet tall, Engelmann Spruce at 179 feet tall, and the largest Western Hemlock at 172 feet tall. People come from around the world to visit and photograph these amazing giant trees. Standing below one and looking up is an amazing experience. These trees are hundreds of years old and were already standing tall when explorers first trekked western Washington.
The Queets rainforest is only for the serious hiker. Access is difficult and ambitious trekkers start by fording the wild and treacherous Queets River in order to reach the trailhead. This isolated and remote area in the Olympic Wilderness is rarely visited. Service Falls is very high, near the Mount Olympus glaciers, and it drops hundreds of feet into Queets Canyon. It is said that only a few people have had the privilege to stand at Service Falls’ base. Seeing bears is as common as seeing people for those who hike the downstream sections of the Queets River. This is truly a challenging hike for the trekker who prefers solitude, remoteness, communing with nature, and unspoiled wilderness. In addition to bear, hikers to this area may see black-tailed deer, Roosevelt elk, cougar, bobcat, northern spotted owl, raccoon, and the Pacific tree frog.
Near the town of Forks, hikers find the beginning of the 26.9 mile trail into the Bogchiel Rainforest. Hikers follow this trail through remote areas of towering fir and cedar trees plus ferns as tall as people. Between 10 and 14 feet of rain fall annually in the region, and hikers will have a truly incredible rainforest experience. The Ira Spring Wetland Trail is the most popular starting point for most hikers and takes them through lush undergrowth, true wilderness, and spectacular views. The Bogachiel River Trail runs takes hikers past trail intersections, and some choose to go on to the High Divide intersection on Bogachiel Peak.
Families, including seniors, will find easy trails and lush beauty in the Hoh and Quinault Rainforests. The experienced hikers will appreciate the challenges presented in the Queets and Bogachiel Rainforests. Make plans to visit one or more of the rainforests in Olympic National Park and enjoy some of the most beautiful and amazing natural treasures in the United States.