A Day in Olympic National Park: Hoh Rainforest & Rialto Beach

No trip to Washington State is complete without a visit to Olympic National Park. Here in the upper left USA, you’ll get the quintessential Pacific Northwest experience — find yourself immersed in nature with an exotic mix of rainforests, dramatic beaches, and peaceful lakes. Located on the Olympic Peninsula and surrounded by Route 101 (the only way to get around the park), Olympic National Park has enough adventures to keep you busy for days. But if you’re only here for a short stop, there are two spots you definitely won’t want to miss: Hoh Rainforest and Rialto Beach.

Because the park is so spread out, the best way to explore it is to pick a central location and use it as your home base. For Hoh Rainforest and Rialto Beach, that would be Forks. Anyone here a Twilight fan? Besides having a ton of Twilight themed attractions, Forks is also a great stopping point for food, gas, and groceries — you can never have too many snacks for the road!

Start off your day at Hoh Rainforest, just under an hour drive from downtown. The two main trails, the Hall of Mosses (0.8 miles) and the Spruce Trail (1.2 miles), are perfect for a morning stroll. The calm sunshine, fresh air, and quiet sound of raindrops will transport you to a whole new level of zen.

hoh rainforest olympic national park

For lunch, head back to Forks and grab a bite to eat at ones of its many local shops. Once you’re all energized, it’s time to explore the beaches! While La Push and the surrounding area offer many gorgeous beaches that are truly iconic to the PNW, we decided on Rialto Beach (less than 30 minutes from downtown Forks) because of the unique rock arch formation that is Hole in the Wall.

Since Hole in the Wall is only accessible during low tide, we went towards the evening. Here’s a fun story for you… it was so foggy that day that we could barely see where we were going. Right when we got to the beach, it started raining and it was FREEZING. I was even wearing layers and my bones still hurt. Between the howling wind and the crashing waves, I could barely hear myself talk without screaming! But we were determined to make it to Hole in the Wall, so we trudged 3 miles into a white emptiness, and at one point I even fell into a creek because my legs were too short to jump across! You would think that the gigantic drift logs would help… 😉 Walking 3 miles on rocks is hard, you guys! But the view at the end made it all worth it.

hole in the wall rialto beach olympic national park

Since I knew we’d be out and about all day, I decided to wear my trusted Topshop rain jacket that would help shield some strong winds. These pink Timberland hiking boots have been amazing for rough terrains, especially with all the hiking we did on this trip. I never thought I’d buy Tims, but once I discovered they had a blush version (on sale!), I was sold. Since they can be a bit heavy, these Nike Tanjun sneakers have been a lifesaver after a long day of walking — they’re light, comfortable, and so cute.

And that concludes my Washington travel series! Be sure to check out my Seattle city guide and Reflection Lakes hike at Mount Rainier National Park. This was a really special trip for me because I got to spend quality time with my family and enjoy all these precious moments together. I hope you enjoyed following along. ❤

Fun Sized Cupcakes


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