The Hoh Rainforest is an area of Olympic National park that is world-famous for being one of the few temperate rainforests in the world! Couples travel from all over the world to have a Hoh Rainforest wedding and elopement under the cathedral-like mossy forest canopy. Old-growth hemlock, cedar, douglas fir, and broadleaf maple are the primary species of trees that make up the Hoh Rainforest.
First, you need to apply for a wedding permit from Olympic National Park. You can get a permit here. I’d suggest allowing several weeks for your permit to be reviewed. If you don’t have time to get a permit, there are lots of beautiful places outside the National Park boundaries that I could suggest for a similar look at feel!
Next you’ll want to travel to Washington State. If you’re flying in, Seattle-Tacoma International airport is the most convenient. You could also fly into Portland, OR, and rent a car to drive to Olympic National Park. The drive is incredibly scenic if you take Highway 101 up the Washington coastline! If you’re coming from Seattle, you can take a ferry to the Olympic Peninsula from downtown or Edmonds, just north of Seattle. The downtown Seattle-Bainbridge ferry takes about 30 minutes, while the Edmonds-Kingston route is about 35 minutes.
Whether you dock in Kingston or Bainbridge, you’ll want to drive west via the Hood Canal Bridge. Once you cross the Hood Canal, you’re officially on the Olympic Peninsula! If the weather is clear, you’ll be able to see the Olympic Mountains towards the south from the bridge. Another hour of driving will bring you to Port Angeles, which is a great place to find lodging, get something to eat, and run any last minute errands.
The most iconic and popular place for a Hoh Rainforest elopement is the Hall of Mosses near the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center. You can have a micro-wedding or tiny elopement at the Hall of Mosses, but there are also numerous trails and campgrounds along the Hoh River where you can explore and find a perfect spot for your vows.
Located on the south shore of the Quinault river just east of Lake Quinault, the Elkhorn Ranch offers a spacious wedding venue on over 100 acres of stunning river valley. The forested mountains surround the beautiful meadows and fields, and a spacious barn provides a comfortable reception space. The Ranch also offers an apartment and a three-bedroom house for overnight lodging, and can accomodate up to 250 guests for wedding ceremonies and receptions.
Fern Acres is a stunning venue located just outside of the town of Forks. Beautifully maintained gardens, a mossy ceremony space, and a generously sized reception tent provide plenty of space for weddings up to
If you want to have a larger wedding, you can reserve Lake Quinault Lodge for both lodging and ceremonies and receptions of up to 80 people. The historic Olympic National Park Lodge provides both amenities for large groups, delicious catering, and that cozy lodge style. Whether your wedding is in summer or the wetter fall and winter, Lake Quinault Lodge is a beautiful venue for your rainforest wedding. There are numerous trails, campgrounds, and public areas around Lake Quinault Lodge where you can get photos with those iconic moss-covered branches and towering old-growth trees!
You can find lodging either in Port Angeles, Forks, or AirBnB’s located in the vicinity of the Hoh Rainforest. Some of my favorites are The Perch, Mossquatch for PNW-style glamping, & The Cove on Lake Sutherland. Lake Quinault Lodge, Kalaloch Lodge, and Lake Crescent Lodge all offer lodging and dining for larger groups.
If you’re getting married or eloping in the Hoh Rainforest, don’t forget some lush, locally grown florals for your bouquet and decorations! My favorite Olympic Peninsula farmer-florists are Tin Can Floral, Riversedge Farmstead, Fullness of Joy Floral, and Farm & Flower.
A couple of my favorite restaurants in Port Angeles are Nextdoor Gastropub, The Spruce, Frugal’s Burgers, and Granny’s Cafe just west of town. Chestnut Cottage and First Street Haven are great for breakfast, and you can’t leave town without a latte from The CoffeeBox Cafe!
A great idea would be to order a charcuterie box for a picnic lunch from Sea to Summit Charcuterie. Country Aire Market is another great place to pick up snacks for the rest of the trip! Once you head out of town, options for restaurants and grocery stores are fewer and farther between. One of the last options is the Thrifty Way grocery store in Forks, so if you need any last minute items be sure to stop there before you continue on!
About an hour past Forks, you’ll finally arrive at the Hoh Rainforest! Once you’re there, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee if you’re going in to the National Park. This fee helps support the staff and facilities that keep this incredible land accessible to everyone! I worked for Olympic National Park as an entrance booth attendant and then Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park in California for two seasons and I’m so grateful to have been able to experience working for the NPS! The entrance fee is usually good for up to a week at multiple areas of the park, like Hurricane Ridge.
On the day of your Hoh Rainforest wedding or elopement, you’ll want to get ready in a comfortable location. That could be a hotel, AirBnB, National Park Lodge, or a luxurious glamping tent at Mossquatch! I suggest having an experienced Hair & Makeup Artist like It’s Likely Makeup by Min to help you get gorgeous! Whether you want a minimal makeup look or something really glamorous, a pro HMUA will help make sure your hair and makeup with last despite the ever-changing PNW weather.
No matter what, your Hoh rainforest wedding is going to be spectacular. You can’t go wrong with the gorgeous scenery of the Olympic Peninsula. The towering old-growth forests, dripping green mosses, and salty ocean air create such a memorable atmosphere.
Now, please enjoy some images from gorgeous Hoh Rainforest weddings and elopements!
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