You are here: Home Signpost Blog Hobbit Hikes: Washington's Middle-earth

Hobbit Hikes: Washington's Middle-earth

Posted by Loren Drummond at Dec 13, 2012 04:30 PM |
When you come out of the movie theater after seeing The Hobbit, which opens in theaters at midnight tonight, you may have the urge to go on an epic adventure of your very own. Let WTA help you bring out your inner Bilbo Baggins with a few seasonal hikes that bring the book and movie to life.
Hobbit Hikes: Washington's Middle-earth

Near the entrance of the Hobbit Trail in Federation Forest State Park. Photo by Eric Jain.

When you come out of the movie theater after seeing The Hobbit, which opens in theaters at midnight tonight, you may have the urge to go on an epic adventure of your very own. Let WTA help you bring out your inner Bilbo Baggins with a few seasonal hikes that bring the book and movie to life.

Nice hobbit-sized hikes

Federation Forest State Park

Green, mossy old growth trees, miles of level hiking and a special Gnome Village along an historic pioneer trail are the main attractions at Federation Forest State Park. More than 12 miles of trails wind through the forest and hikers can put together loops to fit their hiking needs. It started several years ago with a single gnome and a small house, but it has bloomed into a full-on village today. Wee tables and chairs, a tiny hammock, a miniature outhouse, micro gardens and much more inhabit this forest village.

It is not an easy place to find. It's small, after all. It's also a couple of miles down a lonely trail that isn't maintained very well. Your best chance to locate the Hobbit Village is to go when the visitor center is open for a map and directions. It's on the main Naches Trail that heads west from the center, but even hikers who have found it before are unable to locate it on return visits. Make a treasure hunt of it and enjoy your success if you do indeed find the forest gnomes.

> Hike the Hobbit Trail.

Rockport State Park

Rockport State Park
Moss, moss everywhere. Photo by Kim Brown.
There are places at Rockport State Park on Highway 20 where a steady rain barely penetrates the tree canopy. Some areas are as dark as it gets, courtesy of some of the biggest firs, cedars and hemlocks you've ever seen. The moss is thick, growing everywhere - even on the picnic tables! Bring your copy of The Hobbit on this trail, and you'll see the type of place that provided Tolkien his inspiration.

> Hike the Hobbit Forest at Rockport

Hoh Rainforest

What better place to go all J.R.R. Tolkien than the otherworldly temperate rainforest of the Hoh River Valley in Olympic National Park. Walk the short interpretive Hall of Mosses loop or any number of miles along the Hoh River. Massive trees, enormous ferns and a good chance of encountering elk (especially in winter) will make you feel very Hobbitish. And going in wintertime will practically guarantee solitude.

> Hike the Hoh

A Lord of the Rings adventure

Feeling more like Frodo than Bilbo? Head into the North Cascades for an epic snowshoe among the jagged peaks surrounding Artist Point or, in the spring, check out the Iron Horse Tunnel trail (not open in winter) to see how you'd do in the Mines of Moria.

Snowshoe at Artist Point

Where is your go-to Middle-earth hike?

Have a trail that makes you feel like you're heading out of the Shire and towards the Misty Mountains? What reminds you of Rivendell? The plains of Rohan? Share it with us in the comments below.

Document Actions
  • Print this
  • Share

Middle Earth

Posted by Muledeer at Dec 14, 2012 03:26 PM
Everybody in the PNW knows Peter Jackson got it wrong in Fangorn Forest. It should have been big Dougs, W Redcedars and old hemlocks, just like the Hoh Rainforest!

completely agree!

Posted by wafflesnfalafel at Dec 14, 2012 03:26 PM
You are completely right! That part of the movie bugged me because they used weird looking deciduous trees. I just figured I was OCD or something. But big Douglas and Hemlocks would be much better with their spiked spires and broad sharp edged limbs. Treebeard would have been awesome as a huge old Red Cedar.

Olympic Rain Forest

Posted by Bec at Dec 17, 2012 05:39 PM
My sister and I read the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit in 1975. That summer our parents took us on a camping trip around the Olympic Peninsula. (I'm not sure what they were thinking, it rained every day and we were soaked in our canvas tent!!) But the part I remember the most was my sister and I had new green hoodies, and we'd hike the trails and as we saw the moss dripping from the trees we'd pretend we were hobbits and that our green hoodies were the cloaks that the elves gave to us. So your suggestion of the Hoh Rainforest as a hobbit trail is right on!

Great story

Posted by Loren Drummond at Dec 17, 2012 05:39 PM
I love that story, Bec! There is just something about the Hoh that seems so otherworldly. A lot of my childhood was spent playing pretend in the woods, too. So great.

Iron Goat

Posted by vongoebel at Dec 17, 2012 05:41 PM
The long concrete snowshed on the Iron Goat trail has always reminded me of the ruins of a great cathedral left behind by some long forgotten empire of mountain folk.


Posted by Loren Drummond at Dec 17, 2012 05:41 PM
Great suggestion. As I was watching the movie, I just kept thinking about what other hikes we could include. Might be a new favorite pastime. Watch movie: find hike to match. :)

More hikes » Hike of the Week
Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

Get Trail News

Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking news, events, gear reviews and more.

What's Happening
Trails and Ales - Spokane 2014 Apr 22, 2014 Meet fellow hikers and raise a glass for trails!
GiveBIG 2014 May 06, 2014 Donate to WTA during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event and grow your impact on trails!
Hiker Potluck in Vancouver May 28, 2014 Come out for an evening of great food, meet other hikers and learn what is happening on trails near you.
More »