The 17-mile drive, following the river in parts, is lovely in and of itself, winding through thick forest and occasionally opening up to views of the mountain peaks in the distance. Like we said earlier, bring rain gear and don’t expect sunshine, but the grey skies feel pretty apt and add a mysterious, haunting atmosphere.
The Hall of Mosses Trail starts near the Visitor Center and at just .8 miles should be manageable for almost everyone (but as always, ask at the Visitor Center before setting out). Short as it is, it’s a beautiful trail and shows just how conducive to plant life the conditions are.
Almost everything is covered in thick layers of moss, including giant carpets that hang from tree branches overhead.
Multiple trees sprout from the remains of one that used to stand equally tall. Signs along the route explain more about the vegetation and the specific aspects of the environment, including the fact that some plants can survive on the fertile air alone, allowing this ‘plant on plant’ life to continue without damaging the ‘host’ tree for instance.
There are a range of other trails to take you further into the wilderness; the National Park Service has plenty of information if you want to know more.
Next, we'll make a final Olympic Peninsula stop on the western beaches of the Pacific Coast.