Past Meetup

South Fork Hoh River Hike & Car Camp

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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).

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