We decided to take a week and make our way out to the Olympic Peninsula before the crowds of summer arrived and before the reservations season (beginning June 6 this year) was upon us.
Leaving our commercial campsite of two nights in Amanda Park, Washington, we made our way to Hoh Campground arriving late morning on Wednesday. It was raining and would continue to rain off and on until after noon the next day. You should expect it will be rainy and the trails will be muddy.
The great shock and surprise was that we had internet service through Verizon. We were able to stream in the evenings and the really cool part was the self-service check in. Don't expect there to be a camp host this time of year, don't expect the visitor center to be open with the exception of Friday-Sunday. Instead the self-service kiosk has a QR code that allows you to pay online with part of the check-in materials inserted into a slot for the site one has chosen and displayed on a board for all to see. You can also simply fill out credit card information and put that in a receptacle nearby.
Expect the campground to be basically empty during the week. We pretty much had our pick of sites and chose site #25 which is a pull through. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the best as it's right next to the Hoh River with good views of the river and surrounding area. It has grassy areas near the river for sitting and enjoying the cool evenings, if it's not raining. Site #29, also on the river, would work well too. There's a 7 day limit for a stay at Hoh.
A couple of sites down river from Site #25 were blocked off and we couldn't figure out why until a small herd of Roosevelt Elk began crossing late on Thursday afternoon. They walked through the campground foraging as they went. It was a treat
We hiked the Hall of Mosses and Spruce Nature trails and about 3 miles of the Hoh River Trail while we were there.
The rainforest, part of the largest old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest is an amazing experience. Trees a 1,000 years old covered in moss give it the feel of prehistoric times.
Steven and Melanie