Spruce Nature Trail, in the Hoh Rain Forest


Heading south on US 101 out of Forks, the first attraction you’ll reach is the Hoh Rain Forest.  After you turn off the highway, a 19 mile drive takes you along the Hoh River, and eventually back into Olympic National Park.

At the Hoh Rain Forest, You’ll need your receipt from your previous entry into Olympic National Park.  If you’ve lost it,  you must pay again.

Spruce Nature Trail, Hoh Rainforest

If you’re budgeting your time, I recommend the Spruce Nature Trail first, and the Hall of Mosses trail second.  Both begin near the visitor’s center.

The Spruce Nature Trail is 1.25 miles long, while the Hall of Mosses is .75 mile.  Both are loops, so you won’t need to backtrack.

Spruce Nature Trail, Hoh Rainforest

The Spruce Nature Trail is probably the more interesting of the two paths.  You’ll see plenty of moss hanging from trees, fungus growing from stumps, and lots of contorted tree trunks.

Spruce Nature Trail, Hoh Rainforest

Hoh River, Olympic National Park

I found the Spruce trail more interesting than the Hall of Mosses, since it leads out to, then briefly runs beside, the sparkling Hoh River.

The water in the Hoh River may appear milky.  That’s because it carries silt from melting glaciers.

Hoh River, Olympic National Park

There’s no shortage of greenery, everywhere you look.

Hoh River, Olympic National Park

Roots don’t grow very deep here.  They don’t need to, since there’s so much rain.  In this case, though, the dirt has washed away, leaving the roots dangling over the river.

Fungus, Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

It’s easy to find fungus along the trail.  While everything else is green, this parasite’s pink and yellow hues jump right out at you.

How is a fungus like an iceberg? You can only see the tip of it.  A fungus’ roots grow deep into dead tree trunks, slowly breaking it down.

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

Check this out.  These trees are all lined up in a row, and there’s a good reason.  They all took root in another tree, which decades ago, fell and began decomposing.

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

This part of the trail gives you some perspective on the size of these giant trees.  The path runs between two felled logs, then underneath one of them.  Many old tree trunks are as wide as you are tall.

Note: This trip was first published in 2004.

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