Hoh River-Five Mile Island
Oct 16, 2011
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Hoh River-Five Mile Island
- Region: Olympics -- West
- Agency: Olympic National Park
- Trails: Hoh River (#15)
- Avg Rating: 3.31
- Why You Should Go Now
- Fall foliage
- Be Aware Of
First off, for those of you that have never been within a rainforest in Washington----do so! The trail is in great shape throughout the hike, with perhaps only a few muddy areas to go around. No big deal. I suppose when it is raining (as it usually does) there would be water on the trail, but not today! There are some well made foot bridges and other wood structures that help one get through the obviously wet areas.
The thing that I noticed the most while walking was how incredibly peaceful and serene the forest was. There were sections of the trail in which you hike over complete golden trails, filled with countless big leaf maple leaves. Birds and squirrels chirped away in their individual song, which made the experience a better one. The clattering of the glacier fed Hoh River as it moved through the area on its way to the sea, was always seemingly nearby. The trail moves along the river, then away, then back again.
Along the banks of the river, big leaf and vine maples supplied an abundance of season color. Better hurry though, because this portion of the color will soon be gone for the year. Both Jason and I spent some time photographing some of the open areas along the Hoh, with some fine success.
If I had any macro capabilities for my camera gear, I would have been in heaven shooting the abundant fungi that was everywhere. Mushrooms of all kinds were limitless. I suppose had I been putting focus on macro photography, Jason and I might never have made our destination spot of our trip!
When we happened upon Five Mile Island, we plopped on down on the banks of the river and had a good lunch. The break felt good and we enjoyed views of a very snowcapped Mount Carrie to the east and perhaps a sneak peek of Mount Tom, also with snow on it. We also observed the devastation from a forest fire that occurred back in the 1980's that did some serious damage to the area (and trail) heading up to Hoh Lake on the way to the High Divide.
We encountered seven other pairings of people during our visit on the trail. One couple, from Oklahoma City were simply stunned by all of the beauty of the Olympic National Park. They mentioned how comfortable the sunny fall day was and that they had nearly sixty straight days of 100 degree weather back home, this past summer! That is crazy hot :(
As we made our way back, we happened upon a small heard of elk that were just slightly off the trail. We waited and watching them for about a half an hour as a few other hikers also appeared and marveled at this regal creatures. While we were watching the elk in the moss draped forest, all of a sudden a huge bull elk appeared about thirty yards away along the section of the trail that we were headed to. It was a six point and beautiful. Jason and I stayed in this area for several minutes attempting to photograph it. I was kind of spooky being so near and we decided to move away and go about our business. The encounter was defiantly a huge highlight of our hike!
All in all, a wonderful hike on a clear, yet crisp fall day.....just perfect!