Trail Report: S Fork Hoh to Big Flat

In late May 2018, I hiked 4.5 of the 7 mile South Fork Hoh to Big Flat trail.

While it is one of the easier backcountry trails with a few short elevation changes, there were many obstacles and places of loose footing, a couple of stream crossings and one creek crossing over cascading water.

The trail starts out with a steep descent into second growth, and then enters old growth forest in the Olympic National Park wilderness. It crosses a couple of streams as it moves deeper into the forest, and then crosses a creek with boulders and cascading water, before skirting along a hillside with the sound of flowing water all around you. The trail changes from dirt and rocks to smooth river silt as you enter Big Flat, a level area with giant Big Leaf Maples and Sitka Spruce all around you. Eventually you hear the Hoh, and the trail meets the river before climbing a hill again. This is where I turned around.

The trees are magnificent and stately. I heard a Northern Spotted Owl! I also saw a bear on the drive up, and only two pairs of hikers on the trail.

A very rewarding hike, but definitely a 5-spoon difficulty.

To reach the trailhead, turn at the sign for the Hoh-Clearwater State Forest on Highway 101 south of the the turnoff for the Hoh Rainforest. You’ll drive around 15 miles on gravel road through logging areas. It can be confusing, but there are good directions on the Washington Trails Association website. Google also actually got me there.

Ancestral lands of the Hoh and Quinault people.

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