The Hoh Rainforest is located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. The forest is within Olympic National Park. The rainforest is among the only protected temperate rain forests in the Northern Hemisphere
The dominant species in the rainforest are Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla); some grow to tremendous size, reaching 95 meters (312 ft) in height and 7 m (23 ft) in diameter. Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii), western redcedar (Thuja plicata), bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), red alder (Alnus rubra), vine maple (Acer circinatum), and black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) are also found throughout the forest.
Many unique mosses and lichens are also present in the rainforest, such as lettuce lichen (Lobaria oregana), which "requires the cool, moist conditions found under the canopy of old-growth forests" and is consumed by deer, elk, and other animals.
Many native fauna also make the Hoh Rainforest their home, including the Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla), northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), bobcat (Lynx rufus), cougar (Felis concolor couguar), raccoon (Procyon lotor), Olympic black bear (Ursus americanus altifrontalis), Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), and black-tailed deer (Odocoileus columbianus).
The area is also home to the banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus), which has recently been threatened by the encroachment of a new species of slug, the black slug (Arion ater), an invasive species from Northern Europe.
Nineteen miles inland from Hwy 101 you’ll find the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center. From here there are three loop trails are easy to stroll and give a great sampling of the area.
The Hall of Mosses Trail is 3/4 mile and shows the moss-draped maples, magically green in the spring, spectacular with color in the fall, and a treat any time of year
The 1 1/4 mile Spruce Nature Trail meanders through the late-secessional (younger) forests of red alder and cottonwood, showing the landscape carved by this glacier-fed river.
A paved 1/4 mile nature path suitable for a wheelchair or stroller is also located here.
The Hoh Visitor Center is also a starting point for longer and more challenging hikes to alpine meadows and glacier fields.
The Hoh Rainforest is protected from commercial exploitation. This includes 24 miles (39 km) of low elevation forest 394 to 2,493 feet (120 to 760 m) along the Hoh River. Between the park boundary and the Pacific Ocean, 48 km (30 mi) of river, much of the forest has been logged within the last century, although many pockets of forest remain.