Hoh River Trail - Olympic Wilderness

Backpacker in the Hoh Rainforest
Backpacker in the Hoh Rainforest

Trail Conditions

General Location: 20 miles southeast of Forks, WA.



  • If you are hiking up into the Sol Duc/High Divide/Seven Lakes Basin area, all food, garbage and scented items must be stored in bear canisters.
  • Groups of more than 6 are required to camp in designated "Group Camps". Stock parties are required to camp in designated "Stock Sites".
  • A section of trail prior to Glacier Meadows is in an avalanche chute and is washed out. This requires hikers to utilize a rope ladder to get down a steep and loose rock slope - photo below


Ecosystem type: Temperate rainforest, subalpine meadow, subalpine meadow basin, montane forest
Trail tread types: Well-maintained
General elevation trend: Flat to steep. The trail is generally flat for the first 13 miles then becomes steep to Glacier Meadows.
River crossings: There is one crossing of a braid of the river near 8-mile and a few small stream crossings.
Unique features: Temperate rain forest, opportunites to view wildlife, views of Mount Olympus and Blue Glacier from the end of the trail
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate
Distance: 17.4 miles to Glacier Meadows
Elevation change: 600 feet to 4,300 feet
Best Season: Late June through September



Permits/Reservations: Make a campsite reservation at Recreation.gov, for the most up to date information about obtaining a Wilderness Permit click here.
Food Storage Method: Community bear wires are available at Tom Creek, Happy Four, Olympus Guard Station, Lewis Meadow, Elk Lake, and Glacier Meadows. Bear canisters are required for camping on Mount Olympus, at 5 Mile Island and in the Sol Duc/Seven Lakes Basin area.
Location and sites: Gravel bars on the Hoh River make good, low-impact campsites. Otherwise, camp in preexisting sites: Tom Creek (3 individual sites, 1 group site), Five Mile Island (3 individual sites, 2 group sites, 1 stock site), Happy Four (2 individual sites), Olympus Guard Station (7 individual sites, 2 group sites), Lewis Meadow (2 individual sites, 1group site, 1 stock site), Elk Lake (7 individual sites, 1 group site, 1 stock site 0.5 mi. below lake), and Glacier Meadows (11 individual sites, 1 group site).
Toilet Facilities: Pit toilets at 5-Mile Island, Olympus Guard Station, Lewis Meadow, Elk Lake, and Glacier Meadows. Use wag bags on Mount Olympus. Elsewhere, bury waste 6-8" deep and 200 feet from water sources and campsites.
Water Source: Hoh River and various side streams. Always boil, filter, or chemically treat your drinking water to prevent getting Giardia.
Stock: Camp only in designated stock sites. No camping above Martin Creek. See Stock Use


Special Concerns

Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace during your stay to protect the resource and vegetation. Camp in designated sites only on bare ground.
Campfires: No campfires above Martin Creek to protect sensitive vegetation. Please use dead and down wood and leave no trace of your fire when you leave.



In early season, several steep snow slopes exist along this trail. An ice axe may be required for much of the spring and early summer. It may also be difficult to follow sections of trail due to snow. Map and compass skills may be required during much of the spring and summer.

During Winter months, travel above Elk Lake is not recommended due to steep avalanche chutes. Ropes and anchors may be necessary to cross these safety.

Climbing Mount Olympus should only be attempted by experienced mountaineers who have glacier travel and crevasse rescue skills and gear.

Backpackers in the Hoh Rainforest
Backpackers in the Hoh Rainforest
Roosevelt Elk in the Hoh River Valley
Roosevelt Elk in the Hoh River Valley
Olympuc Guard Station
Olympus Guard Station
Glacier Meadows avalanche chute
Hiker descending ladder at slide area 0.25 mile before Glacier Meadows

NPS Bryan Bell

The Hoh River in Winter
The Hoh River in Winter
The Hoh River Trail
The Hoh River Trail

Last updated: September 24, 2023

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