Hoh River Trail


Backpack - Hoh River Trail

Hike a strenuous 30 mile out-and-back through the lush Hoh Rainforest and alongside the scenic Hoh River to Elk Lake camp. 5 mile day hike to Blue Glacier with stunning views of Mount Olympus. Total elevation gain to/from Elk Lake camp of 8200ft, with day hike adding 3200ft of gain.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 35.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 11,400 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 5,076 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2mph

Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center (https://goo.gl/maps/CTLs7N3EaevcYih98)

Friday June 18 at 9am

Rain or shine

This is a challenging 3-day backpacking trip, with significant mileage and elevation gain every day. In return for our effort, we'll be rewarded (weather permitting) with stunning views of Blue Glacier and Mount Olympus.  Participants seeking more miles or elevation gain on day 2 can optionally do an out-and-back day hike towards Hoh Lake.

Participants should be in excellent physical condition, and must be comfortable with varied trail conditions.  From the trailhead to our camp at Elk Lake, the trail is in decent condition.  The trail from Elk Lake up to the Blue Glacier's lateral moraine, from which we get the best views of Mount Olympus, has a huge washout that must be traversed using a rope and ladder that are fastened to the hillside.  The optional day hike towards Hoh Lake is steep and features many blowdowns.

We'll be hiking at a moderate pace (1.5-2 mph), with breaks for food and pictures.  Given the mileage that must be covered each day, however, we will keep an eye on the time and not be overly leisurely.

Given the challenging nature of this trip, leader's permission is required.  In your request, please detail recent trips you've taken that have prepared you for the mileage and gain of this trip.  I personally wouldn't do this trip unless I had already successfully completed multiple backpacking trips this season, at least one of which included two days that were 10 miles / 2500' gain or more.  Since that's what I would expect of myself, that's the level of recent experience I'm expecting this trip's participants to have.


On day 1, we'll meet at the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center and hike along the Hoh River trail, finishing the day with a 2.2 mile, 1900' ascent to Elk Lake camp.  14.6 miles, 5100' gain.  Gaia GPS route detailing day 1: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/4qEII03SgkH9sh08qG2WkGma

Optional Day Hike #1: Head up from Elk Lake camp to the Blue Glacier's lateral moraine to take in the views of Mount Olympus.  5.4 miles, 3200' gain.  Gaia GPS route detailing optional day hike #1: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/guFkhSyKsuQI2dJ96MERFwQx

Optional Day Hike #2: Head down from Elk Lake camp to the valley floor, and then ascend the Hoh Lake Trail to Hoh Lake.  20 miles, 8100' gain if you do the entire trip.  Gaia GPS route detailing optional day hike #2: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/zK6XmOKZvXuh0cC7W3VEY3XL

On day 3, we'll leave Elk Lake camp and return to the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center.  14.6 miles, 3100' gain.  Gaia GPS route detailing day 3: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/4qEII03SgkH9sh08qG2WkGma

Participants will each be responsible for the $16/person permit fee.


Hoh River Trail

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