Hike the Hoh River Trail, Olympic National Park, WA
A one-hour drive from Kalaloch Lodge, the Hoh River Valley receives over 140 inches of rain annually (Seattle sees just 36), which makes it the rainiest spot in the continental U.S. and creates one of the world’s rare temperate rain forests. Supercharged by precipitation, the Hoh’s Sitka spruce trees grow to more than 300 feet tall; western red cedar, Douglas fir and western hemlock are gargantuan too, and all are draped in club moss and licorice fern that make the forest feel like a fairyland.
Explore it on the Hoh River Trail which parallels the Hoh River for 17.4 miles—but Five Mile Island (a five-mile walk from the trailhead) or anyplace in between makes for a good turnaround spot. It’s level terrain, but drenching rain makes mud a constant, so wear sturdy boots and be prepared to tread the mucky middle of the trail. Scan the forest floor to see smaller trees growing from “nurse logs” (fallen giants that give seedlings a boost over the riot of vegetation competing for space on the ground). Towering trees dwarf everything along the route, from the foot-long banana slugs to the large herds of Roosevelt elk.