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Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report!
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goldtooth
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:06 am    Post subject: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Well we are back at it for November, this time heading north to a place we have had on our list for a long time, the Hoh Rainforest in the Olympic National Park. We have circled the area by visiting Lake Quinault, Forks, and on the east side with a trip by Lake Cushman but we have never ventured deep into the park to see the Hoh.
We took off for a two day adventure that included an amazing river side dispersed camp site, hiking in the beautiful Hoh Rainforest and a marathon campsite search on Saturday night.
As usual, the Youtube video is here and the trip report is below. The video is a bit longer than the last ones as it covers two days but it is a fun video to watch. We would love to have anyone who likes watching these to subscribe/comment/like so we can get a sense of what people like to watch. We are really trying to build the channel up and any support would be greatly appreciated. Anyway, enough pandering for attention and let's get on with the report!!!

Link


We left Portland around 11:00am for the 5ish hour drive north to the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center. We took I5 for the first part to make up some time then meandered west on backroads until we hit Highway 101. This lower part of 101 from Aberdeen to Queets is the ugliest (in our opinion) part of 101 along the coast. Most if it runs through old logging areas and there is no view of anything. We found ourselves turning onto Upper Hoh Road around 4:00pm in search of a campsite.
We planned on driving the 20+ miles to the visitor center to look at the campground there but were not excited to camp with other people. Driving along the Hoh River, we spotted a pullout along the river with views we just couldn't pass up.

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Camp was made, drinks were procured, and dinner was started. We sat by our propane campfire for a bit then retired to the van to play an intense game of Life and watch some Netflix.

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The views in the morning were even better as the sun came up.
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We packed up camp and made the short drive into the park. Our campsite was only about 5 miles from the park boundary. We have a National Parks pass so we drove in and parked to hike some of the amazing trails. It was busier than we thought it might be but nothing like it would be later.
We chose the Spruce trail first and set out to explore. Living in the PNW, we are used to wet forests, ferns, moss, and mushrooms but this place was on a whole new level. The pics cannot do it justice. The video is closer but still nothing like being there.

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We followed the trail to the river and sat in the sun for a while soaking it all in.

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Soon we made the loop back to the start and planned on doing the short Fern loop but the place was a zoo now. Every spot in the parking lot was full and it kinda ruins the experience on a trail like that having to be around everyone. I know we are tourists too but the peaceful sounds of the forest tend to be ruined with constant chatter. We usually choose to go early to avoid this. No issue, we went back to the van to make lunch and plan our next stop.
We wanted to head to Neah Bay, which is the most western point in Washington, but it is Reservation land and still closed to visitors due to Covid. We headed to the coast to see if anything interested us. With it being a beautiful weekend in November, we figured it would be pretty crowded. It was.

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We headed south to check out a potential camp area I found on Google Earth and it happened to be near a dam and lake named Wynoochee Lake. The weather quickly changed from sunny to dark skies, rain, and hail as we made our way up the mountain. There was very little traffic on this seldom used forest service road. Even less people when it turned to gravel. We made it to the dam and it had a pretty cool observation platform to check out the spillway.

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It was getting late and we headed off around the lake to check out the area for camping. There were quite a few roads but with very few pullouts and a lot of gates due to logging activity. We drove around and around in search for a place to sleep.

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Darkness soon took over and we saw a potential spot on iOverlander and headed that way, giving up on finding another epic site. We found the pulloff and quickly decided this would do for the night as we were getting quite hungry and tired of driving in circles. It was an inside night as it was 30 degrees out, so we read books and watched some videos.
Campsite view in the morning wasn't bad.

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We packed up camp and made the drive south back to Portland with stop to use the rest of our food to make lunch. All too soon we were back home but already planning our next trip!
Thanks for reading along!
nate
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flomulgator
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:47 am    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Next time, if you have more time, detour around part of that less than scenic section of 101 by heading west then north on 109 past Ocean Shores and up to Moclips, then back on a paved but disused road to Quinalt. Very scenic and you can even drive on the beach for part of it if you want.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

The Hoh Rainforest is indeed a magical place. We got up there for some hiking last September.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

one of my fav places in the US
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Let's kind of keep this info on the downlow. We don't want 'you know who' to find out about this living treasure. Thankfully, most of the folks here are illiterate, but we need to be cautious nonetheless.
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campism
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:15 am    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Did you get to see the scenic mossy phone booth? From our trip in 2010*.
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*Required Vanagon content: Our Westy was at home in the driveway 'cause this was a fly-'n'-rental-car trip.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:33 am    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Dam dam dam...another location to visit added to the list!
Thanks for the great report and video.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:46 am    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Loved steel head fishing around there.
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goldtooth
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

flomulgator wrote:
Next time, if you have more time, detour around part of that less than scenic section of 101 by heading west then north on 109 past Ocean Shores and up to Moclips, then back on a paved but disused road to Quinalt. Very scenic and you can even drive on the beach for part of it if you want.

Is this the route you are referring to?

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I have been down part of it but not on the old paved road up to Quinault.
nate
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Seeing your pictures takes me back to the '70s with semi-frequent family trips to my Mom's relatives in Washington State. She kept trying to tell us that there were Rain Forests around ,but as kids, we could only imagine the Amazon Rain Forest.... Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed Razz Razz
Once we finally got into them, we understood what she was talking about and had grown up with as a child herself in the '30s and 40's.

Very nice trip.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Thanks for another great trip report. There are so many wonderful hikes in the area, one is 13 miles in from Lake Quinault along the Quinault River to the Enchanted Valley with walls about 1,000 ft high and countless waterfalls coming down. You can make it a through hike to Dosewallips on the east side of the Peninsula.
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goldtooth
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
Let's kind of keep this info on the downlow. We don't want 'you know who' to find out about this living treasure. Thankfully, most of the folks here are illiterate, but we need to be cautious nonetheless.


Haha! It is a treasure in the area.

campism wrote:
Did you get to see the scenic mossy phone booth? From our trip in 2010*.



*Required Vanagon content: Our Westy was at home in the driveway 'cause this was a fly-'n'-rental-car trip


We didn't see the phone booth! Where is that at?
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

I'd assume the booth is at the hall of mosses? The roads end from pavement to gravel headed east from Quinalt is a nice little spot to camp. Imvsure it's private property but it's so inviting.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

I believe that phone booth is next to the visitor center in Forks. Iíve got that pic from 2015. Maybe I can find it.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:16 am    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Phone booth is actually at the parking lot in the rain forest once you have come in on Hoh Valley Road. Visitor center in the town of Forks is much less shaggy.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:24 am    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Great trip report and pix.

Just follow the phone line .....

Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:29 am    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

campism wrote:
Phone booth is actually at the parking lot in the rain forest once you have come in on Hoh Valley Road. Visitor center in the town of Forks is much less shaggy.


Yep. You'd be correct.

My photo from 2015 shows about twice the volume of 'hair'.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:41 am    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Great report as always and beautiful photos. Thank you!
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goldtooth
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Man too bad we didn't see the phone. After it got busy when we got back from the hike, we just kinda got out of there.


joetiger wrote:
Great report as always and beautiful photos. Thank you!


Always appreciate your feedback on these threads!
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Hoh Rainforest Camping trip report! Reply with quote

goldtooth wrote:
Man too bad we didn't see the phone. After it got busy when we got back from the hike, we just kinda got out of there.

We had the place to ourselves the morning we were there. The phone booth proved redundant as my bride got a business call on her cell phone while we were strolling around. Guess the out-of-office message on our land line wasn't good enough for 'em. Did not ruin the day but it was a surprise to discover we had a signal.
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