There is a new trail in the Hoh Rainforest. The Hoh Rainforest River Walk is located across from the Hard Rain Cafe. Parking is available at the cafe or at the Nikolai shipwreck memorial just past the cafe. The trailhead begins at the road; there is a porta potty and maps available, and the trail system is well marked.
The entire trail is 2 miles if you take the Frog Bog trail to the river, walk along the gravel bar, and return on the Big Spruce Trail. When you enter the clearing where the trail forks, take the right trail – there is a small sign that says Frog Bog trail. Keep right when it meets back up with the other trails, you will come to a couple of steps cut into the earth, and a small bridge over a creek. Continue through the forest until you come to another small bridge over a creek; keep right after crossing and follow the red and black blazes to the river. You’ll come out on a gravel bar. Take in the view of Mount Olympus if it is clear, enjoy the blue waters of the Hoh, and then continue left along the gravel bar. If you can’t go back out on the bar, you can still get a nice view of the river and then turn back.
The trail picks up again towards the end of the bar, and goes up a slight incline – look again for the red and black blazes. The trail loops back to the bridge, just be sure to follow the blazes. When you cross the second bridge you’ll come to another clearing with a fork in the trail – it can be a bit confusing here, but there are signs. Follow the Big Spruce trail, marked by a yellow diamond with a spruce tree. Continue through a forest of old Sitka Spruce, and you’ll come back out at the first clearing and the trailhead.
The tread is soft silt; there are many places of standing water and mud but they are fairly easily bypassed – only one required balancing on some sticks to cross. There is no elevation change but there are some unlevel areas in the trail and a couple of bridges. Pick up one of the many walking sticks at the trailhead.
You can take a >1 mile loop through the forest, which avoids the bridges and most of the trouble spots, but you won’t see the river. Make the loop by taking the frog bog trail, go towards the left when you get to the other trail, and follow the yellow diamonds for the Big Spruce trail.
I met the fellow who built this lovely trail on my way in today. It is so nice to have another dog friendly trail in the area, and another access point for the river. Next time I’m bringing a picnic.
Rated 2 spoons difficulty but be aware of rain and river levels; the trail could get considerably wetter.