Hoh River


Backpack - Hoh River to Lewis Meadows

A leisurely four-day trip up the Hoh River during the July 4 weekend.

  • Easy
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 21.4 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,050 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 - 2.0 mph

The Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center at 9:30am. 

Note that this is about four hours from Seattle. Please see the section on Transportation below.

Before registering please read the full trip description, including the sections on Transportation and Leaders Permission.


This will be a leisurely trip part way up the Hoh River valley and back.  We will not cover a lot of miles, bag any peaks, or visit any uncharted terrain. Instead, our goal will be to simply enjoy being in the area. Most days we will linger in camp in the morning, and probably not start hiking until 9:30 - 10:00.  Our hikes each day will be modest, and we'll stop to admire the views and any wildlife we may come across (which is likely on this route).

The goals of the trip are:

  • Take advantage of the long holiday weekend to immerse ourselves in the beautiful outdoors without having to use much vacation time.
  • Avoid crowds.  For most of the trip we will be deep in the forest past the range of day hikers.  We will share the trails and camps with only a limited number of other wilderness permit holders.
  • Provide an opportunity to go on a longer multi-night trip under relatively easy conditions.

The crux of this trip is transportation to and from the trailhead.  See Transportation below. Because we will be visiting a very popular area during a holiday weekend, we will need to get an early start on our first and last days in order to avoid traffic.  


  • Day 1: Meet at the Hoh River Visitor Center at 9:30am.  Hike to Five Mile Group camp.   (5 miles, 186' gain)
  • Day 2: Hike from Five Mile Group Camp to Lewis Meadows Group Camp.  (5.7 miles, 250' gain)
  • Day 3: Hike from Lewis Meadows Group Camp to Five Mile Group Camp. Observe how different it looks from the other direction during a different time of day.  (5.7 miles, 230' gain)
  • Day 4:  Start hiking by about 7:00am - 8:00am (group decision). Hike from Five Mile Group Camp back to trailhead.  (5 miles, 380' gain)


The trip starts and ends at the trailhead of the Hoh River Trail, which is located at the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center.  If there is interest among the group we will try to set up carpools, but for now expect that you will be responsible for your own transportation.

Even though the limited availability of wilderness permits will protect us from overcrowding on the trails, we will still have to adapt to Holiday Weekend traffic on our way to and from the trailhead.

The Hoh Visitor Center parking lot often fills up by 10:00am, so we will meet there at 9:30am.  Note that the drive can take four hours or more from Seattle, depending on where you are starting.  You will either need to get a very early start if you plan to drive on the morning of the trip, or stay somewhere in the area (campsite or hotel) on the night before.  The whole area is a very popular summer vacation destination, so make your travel plans early.

Similarly, to avoid Sunday traffic on our drive home, we will need to hit the trail early on our last day.

Gear and Permits

This is a straightforward trip so your usual backpacking kit is all that's required.

All campsites have privies and bear wires.  Bear canisters are not required, though you can bring one if you want, of course.

Participants are asked to reimburse the leader $24 for ONP wilderness campsite fees ($8 per night per person).  This can be done sometime during the trip via either cash or Venmo.  Alternatively, an annual Olympic Wilderness Pass can be used instead provided you notify the leader at least a week in advance of the trip.

Leaders Permission

The holder of this badge is enrolled in our Backpacking CourseThe recipient of this badge has acquired basic backpacking skills, either through lectures/seminars or equivalent experience.This trip is open to the entire Mountaineers backpacking community based on badges. If you have either the Basic Backpacking Skills badge or the Backpacking Course Student badge then you have permission to register.  If you do not have either of those badges then you do not have permission to register. 

Please do not ask for permission. Permission is based solely on badges as described above.  If you are an experienced backpacker who does not yet have the Basic Backpacking Skills badge,  see Basic Backpacking Skills Equivalency.

Please use good judgement when deciding whether this trip is a good match for you.   Even though it is an easy trip, we will still be hiking four days in a row while carrying overnight packs.   Make sure your current conditioning is adequate.   If your Mountaineers online activity history does not show many backpacking trips, the Leader may follow up with you to learn more about your background.


Hoh River

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Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports