Mora and Rialto Beach#5 in Best Things To Do in Olympic National Park
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Rialto Beach, which sits about 40 miles southwest of Lake Crescent and about 70 miles from Port Angeles, offers dramatic coastal scenery and is a great place to look for sea lions, seals, otters, whales, seabirds and eagles. Visitors call the beach "intense" and a place to see the "pure power of nature."
The Mora area is located farther inland and offers a seasonal campground, along with a variety of trails to explore. Hikes include the .3-mile loop James Pond Trail; the .9-mile (each way) Slough Trail, a forested trail to the Quillayute River; and Rialto Beach, which is just a 200-foot-long path to an ocean view. A temporary accessible ramp is available in summer season. If you head 1½ miles along the 20.6-mile North Coast trail, you'll find a sea-carved arch called Hole-in-the-Wall and tide pools. Make sure to check tide tables before you set out.
Rialto Beach is accessible by Mora Road, off of La Push Road near the town of Forks. The Quillayute River blocks access from Rialto Beach to First, Second and Third Beaches. First Beach is part of the Quileute Indian Reservation; Second and Third Beaches just to the south are located within Olympic National Park and are part of the Olympic Wilderness Coast. For more information, visit the NPS website.
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#1 Hoh Rain Forest
With an annual rainfall ranging from 140 to 170 inches, the Hoh Rain Forest is a lush, green wonderland, with mosses and ferns covering every tree and surface. According to the NPS, it is one of the finest remaining examples of temperate rainforest in the United States and is one of the park's most popular spots to visit. One visitor described walking in the forest as a "Hansel and Gretel-type of feeling" while another likened it to a fairy tale enchanted forest.
Most travelers begin at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, which is staffed with rangers who can offer advice on what to see and do. The visitor center also houses exhibits and a bookstore. Two short nature trails loop through the forest near the center, the Hall of Mosses Trail (.8 miles) and the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles). If you're up to the challenge, there is also a 17-mile trail that leads to Glacier Meadows, on the shoulder of Mount Olympus, called the Hoh River Trail.
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