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Trip Report: Olympic National Park - Hoh Rainforest to Blue Glacier
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Trip Report: Olympic National Park - Hoh Rainforest to Blue Glacier

Trip Report: Olympic National Park - Hoh Rainforest to Blue Glacier

When: 08/18/2017
Location: Olympic National Park - Hoh Rainforest to Blue Glacier
Conditions: Sunny and beautiful until the rainforest lived up to it's name and we woke up in puddles.
Duration: 3 nights, 2 days (~40 miles total)
Dificulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Kid Friendly: Parts
Pet Friendly: No
Useful links: 
Olympic National Park Website
Hoh Rainforest Info
Hoh River Trail Info
Maps

Hoh Rainforest

The Full Report:
Our trip was a ~40-mile total backpacking excursion in the Hoh Rainforest up to the Blue Glacier in Olympic National Park. We split the trip into 3 days where we hiked 11 miles into camp the first day, spent the second day trekking up to the glacier with day packs (18mi round trip), and hiked out on the 3rd day.

Hoh Rainforest

We got a late start on a Friday morning for the ~3-hour excursion from Seattle to the Hoh Rainforest. We left at about 9am and were ready to hit the trail by 1pm. This was not a great idea on our part since we had 11miles ahead of us until our camp and it was a race against the sun to get there. If I were to do it again I would recommend hitting the trailhead around 9am to have the chance to really soak in the temperate rainforest surroundings without rushing.

Hoh Rainforest

Despite the speed walk, the hike along the Hoh river trail was absolutely stunning. The trail is immersed in an old-growth temperate rainforest and winds alongside a gorgeous river. The trail starts at the Hoh Rainforest visitor center and runs with very little elevation change past 5 campsites at various distances from the trailhead. This makes this trip a kind of "choose your own adventure" type where you could decide to hike in and camp at any of these sites and make this a 1-night excursion or a full week! We decided to hike to and camp at Lewis Meadows (approx. 11mi down trail). The campground featured a gravel bar, privy, bear wire, and about 5 official campsites. We were stuck on the gravel bar since we got there late, but it wasn't so bad sleeping with the Hoh river bubbling right next to us. The first day was gorgeous. We had a nice moderate hike with little elevation change and sunny skies. The night by the river got chilly -enough to warrant a wool hat and a light down jacket - but the stars were worth staying up late for.

Hoh Rainforest

Day two we left our camp behind and set out with light day packs to make the long trek to the Blue Glacier and back. Getting up to the glacier involved a lot of ELEVATION GAIN! My friend brought her trekking poles along and I was SO jealous by the end. It was a long day but by the time we reached the glacier, it was worth every uphill step! The glacier was breathtaking! Top 10 lunches of my life, easy. The scramble in the last few miles of the trek up got somewhat technical on loose rock, there was one portion where we had to use a huge cabled ladder (implemented by the forest service) to scramble down a 45-degree angled face. I would say overall as long as you watch where you are stepping and follow trail markers you will make it no problem. Post glacier lunch, we made our way back to our Lewis Meadows camp and stayed there one last night. That night, after a 50-day stint without the Hoh seeing rain, the rainforest finally lived up to its name. It started to rain at about 8pm and seemed to drip off of the moss the entire night. The boys spent the night fighting puddles, our tent stayed dry but I seriously regretted forgetting my rain jacket at home.

Hoh Rainforest

The last day was a tired-footed slog back to the visitor center. We peppered the walk with funny stories and made it back to the car with high hopes of grabbing milkshakes on the way back home.

All in all, I would absolutely recommend this trip for all of those with a love for backpacking. Even if you're more into a flatter day hike, the Hoh Rainforest is a must visit treasure.

Hoh Rainforest

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