South Fork Hoh River Hike & Car Camp

  • November 16, 2012 · 7:00 PM

We plan to drive out to the Hoh River and Car Camp Friday and Saturday Nights. There is a nice small camp area in old growth forest near the South Fork Trailhead where we will set up a group camp. Since this is the Rain Forest, we will set up big tarps and have a big fire to keep warm and dry. As we did last spring, we will set up Tiki Lamps for ambience at night. Bring rain gear, camp chairs, coolers water jugs, day packs and all the food and beverages you will need. We will have camp stoves to cook on. Biger tents are OK since we will not need to pack them in.

Our plan is to go out Friday afternoon and set up a nice big camp. You can come out friday night or saturday morning. On saturday we will do a dayhike up the South Fork of the Hoh which will be about 6 miles RT. After that we will return to camp for a nice dinner and drinks. Bring along pictures of your favorite backpack trips of the year to share. You know we all love to talk over our favorite hikes. If you have questions or comments email or call me at[masked]-7674. I will post a map to the campsite once I get one.

Here is WTA Descrition of the hike and driving directions.
"Hikers from around the globe find their way to the Hoh rain forest. After all, it is world famous. But if your idea of experiencing the Olympic rain forest is sans bucketloads of people, cast your attention to the Hoh's little known South Fork. Local fly fishermen are familiar with this wild and lonely valley, but most hikers aren't. Getting to the trailhead can be confusing, but the hike is easy and not very long. The payoff is solitude.

The trail starts in Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land that has been intensively logged over the decades. Through scrappy trees choked in mosses, drop down to a flat outwash area. Cross numerous streams in various stages of flow and after 0.5 mile reach the national park boundary. Now we're talking trees-real old trees, real big trees.

Pass a monstrous Sitka spruce recently laid to rest by a winter storm. Climb onto a bench, pause and look around in bewilderment. Do you feel small? Gargantuan Doug-firs, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce tower above you like skyscrapers in an ecotopian Manhattan. At 1 mile you'll come to a crashing creek that may prove tricky to cross after a heavy rain.

Continuing under a canopy of ancient giants, the trail drops to a lush bottomland known as Big Flat. At 1.3 miles you'll come to a backcountry campground. A side path diverts right, leading to open gravel banks on the South Fork Hoh. The main trail continues left through grassy swales and alongside colonnades of maples. At 2.25 miles, past more impressive spruce trees, the trail finally greets the river.

Soon a large washout is encountered, but the trail has been rerouted around it. Cross a lazy side creek on a sturdy log. Ten minutes beyond, about 3 miles from your start, the trail abruptly ends. The South Fork in one of its winter huffs lopped off a huge part of its bank, taking a good piece of trail with it. More tread can be picked up farther upstream, but some difficult bushwhacking is required to get to it. Instead, plop down on the nice grassy bank before you and let the solitude serenade you.
Driving Directions:
From Forks travel south on US 101 for 14.5 miles. Drive 2 miles beyond the Hoh River Bridge and turn left onto the Clearwater Road at milepost 176 (signed "Clearwater-Hoh State Forest"). Proceed on this paved road for 6.9 miles to a junction. Turn left onto Owl Creek Road (signed for the South Fork Hoh Trail and campground). In 2.3 miles bear right onto Maple Creek Road, following signs for the campground. After 5.4 miles cross the South Fork Hoh River and pass the campground entrance. Continue for another 2.3 miles, bearing right at an unmarked junction. In 0.5 mile the road ends at the trailhead (unsigned as of spring 2006).

Join or login to comment.

  • Dave L

    A really good natured group in spite of rain

    November 19, 2012

  • Suzanne

    Thanks for a great camping trip in the Hoh. Even though all of western Washington is a rain forest these days, it was beautiful and the company delightful. Thanks, Dave and Mel, for organizing the trip. Congratulations on checking a few more miles off your Olympic trail quest. Jun, lovely meeting you. Hope to see you again.

    November 19, 2012

  • Mel

    Thanks for putting this on Dave, great hike up the Hoh and a great campsite!

    November 19, 2012

  • kevin m.

    Suzanne, do you know what time you will be leaving and when you will come home? I may be interested in carpooling with you.

    November 15, 2012

  • Dave L

    I just heard from Mel. He says the campground is just about 2 miles before you get to the trailhead and it should be very easy to find. See the travel directions in the event posting to get to the campground. Look for my maroon pickup truck. If anyone has any tiki torch fuel, please bring it. I'm having a hard time finding any at this time of the year.

    November 15, 2012

  • Dave L

    Hi All, Who is going out Friday? Who wants to ride out with me from Seattle Friday and how early can you leave? Mel is leaving early friday from Elma to get us a campsite. If anyone has some firewood, let me know. I'll try to get and post a map of the campsite location. Looking forward to getting out there and meeting those of you I haven't yet.

    November 12, 2012

    • jun

      Thanks, Dave. I will be at your place by 10:30 Friday morning.

      November 13, 2012

    • Suzanne

      I'm leaving from Olympia Friday afternoon and have room for passengers, if anyone wants a ride.

      November 14, 2012

4 went

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create your own Meetup Group

Get started Learn more

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy