Travel Guide PNW

Forks WA Forks Washington Hoh Rainforest

Insider Tips on Visiting Forks Washington

Welcome to The West End!

Welcome to Forks, WA the home of the PNW. Learn some insider tips on what to do and where to go from a born and raised local.

Welcome to Forks Washington and the forever mystery of the PNW! 

We are so excited to have you visit us and for you to be reading about our tiny little town. 

Forks, Washington is what we call the gem of the forest, a town of now 5,000 people that started out with 3,000 when the Twilight phenomenon hit our town in the early 00’s. Best known for our amazing mountains, rain and of course being the quietest space in the world with our Hoh Rainforest.

Let’s dive in and talk about what to do, and where to go when you visit the upper left PNW.

Forks WA Forks Washington Hoh Rainforest
Forks WA Forks Washington Travel guide

Not So Hidden Spots and Where to Find Them

These are tips on not-so hidden spots open to the public to go and adventure in!

There’s some places in Forks, WA that tourists don’t ever seem to know about, but are the coolest spots to go to. Things like hidden trails and small shops to duck into when it’s pouring down rain.

  • If you find yourself wandering about the tourist center, tucked behind is a massive loop trail, with sections of the trails open, to be able to look over the town of Forks, Wa. With an ever changing canvas of business renovations and new housing going up every summer, the old aerial views you may have seen on google are outdated.

How to get there: Take the trail right behind the visitors center on the right (near the large parking lot) and hike up towards the ONRC building ( large building on the top of the hill ran by the University of Washington). You'll find yourself near the road and on the right hand side of you, there will be a trail head opening that you have to walk across the road to get to ( look both ways! This is a common cruising route for teenagers so make sure to stop and listen before crossing the street)  You'll follow this trail to find a geocache near you, and if you're visiting in the winter a beautiful lookout! Continue following the trail down and you'll eventually get yourself down towards the visitors center.

  • Looking for elk? In our town the elk and white tailed deer are almost a everyday scene, if you listen late at night you might even hear bugling ( a mating call). The best spots to see them are early in the morning or late at night in the spring and late fall.                              

Where to see them: Once you're done with your hike to the ONRC and the lookout, right across from where you have parked is one of the spots you can see the elk pretty regularly. Right at the back of the local airport the elk typically hangout there before 9am - so make sure to check on them then! But be warned. This airport has security, any unlawful access will give you a nice trip to the Forks jail. Say hi to my dad for me! Always try to be quite when looking at the elk, no matter how far away you are because they startle extremely easily and can run into on going traffic.  

-  Another great spot is actually past City Hall! Which we'll talk about a little later, near the Miller Tree Inn there are large farming fields where one of the many elk herds typically lay. Make sure to pull over and not stop in the road because local EMT's live down this way and need the road to be accessible at all times.

  • Let's talk about City Hall! City Hall is a great place for photos, with a de-commisioned cop car that Charlie Swan drives out front, and a great sign too. If you head inside the main doors, hang a left and talk to the front clerks about buying a city of Forks official pin. From memory - they're about $5 each and are great enamel pins with the seal of the City. Say hi to Rod Fleck for me who's the cities City Attorney and Planner - and my dad! If he's not in meetings he'll pry tell you other local spots and what's open if you bring him a peach tea from our local grocery store Thriftway ( Forks Outfitters)
  • Since most of the beaches locally are closed due to Covid-19 ( all reservations are currently closed), I'd suggest driving down to the boat launch -now there's many boat launches but this ones beautiful for a quick walk and stunning pictures.

How to get there:

Drive northbound on 101 and head towards the Forks sign,  instead of turning left to the pull in for the sign, take a right and find yourself in a parking lot. Walk to the left and go down the ramp! Remember Forks has a strict no footprint ecotourism habitat - meaning if you walk in with it you have to walk out with it. If you find anything I always suggest taking it with you and throwing it away to keep our ecosystems the best they can be!

But Where Do I Shop?! And What Do I Do?!

Never fear fellow human! We have some pretty amazing shops and things to do other than hiking in our town.

Some of my favorite things in the world to do are right here in Forks, WA and if you're here seasonally - we're deemed the most festive town in the world ! By me :)

  • If you're a Twilighter ( that's local slang for Twi-hard) then make sure to hit up one of the High School's local games. Typically they're all free except for football games, but don't rip up any of the spots with blankets or go beyond any taped sections! Families tape up blankets to reserve their seats for major games days in advance. Also the band and a FHS led pep section in the stands, are all reserved. Any season except for summer will have some sort of game going on so check the Forks Forum - our local newspaper for local games.
  • Not a twilighter? No problem! While you're on the way to the Hoh Rainforest there's a few shops and local monuments to see. Stop by the Nikolai Memorial which is a beautiful wooden monument that represents the wreck of the Nikolai - which I'll be doing a future blog post about so look out for that. Peak 6 is a fantastic hiking and outdoor recreation store right outside of the National Park, with great snacks and shirts.
  • There's so many shops to talk about but I'm going to talk about my favorite one... The Attic! The Attic is a massive Second Hand and Antique store located at 260 Sol Duc Way, all proceeds goes to Sarges Place - which if you explore this website a bit you'll find out about our mother non-profit Sarges Place/ NORVHN. Come on by and say hi to our awesome workers, plus if you want to see the "good stuff" ask for Emma-Grayce and she can give you a hands on tour of their Etsy storage, where you can hold antique WW1 items and even a 1800's wedding basket. All can be found on our online Etsy store called " The Attic in Forks "
  • Looking for something to snack on or to make dinner with? Head to The Farmstand - again all proceeds goes to Sarges Place, but the only foods there you'll find is local farmers produce and Washington State goodies. This amazing store has 2 different local growers plus Sarge's Places products all in stock from May-Mid November. Filled with beautiful organic bouquets, stunning arrangements of WA state certified organic vegetables, grown by our school systems superintendent; and mouth watering fruits grown by the veterans and staff at Sarge's Place - this is my favorite place to grab some amazing food! Think of it like a locally grown Trader Joe's. Plus for all of November and December The Farmstand turns into the " Christmas Cottage" a holiday store where all second hand holiday items from The Attic goes over and explodes into the shop! Filled with used holiday decor, gifts and glass blown ornaments from Spokane, WA's Old World Christmas company, this is my favorite overlay in all of Forks for the holidays.

Forks WA Forks Washington Forks Travel Guide

How to Talk Like a Local.

Forks, Wa is on the edge of 3 different tribal reservations, the Quileute Tribe, the Makah Tribe, and the Hoh Tribe. With so many beautiful languages merging into our towns tapestry, we get some pretty hard to pronounce words for street names or cities. So lets learn to pronounce them!

  • Makah ( Ma-cah)
  • Quileute ( Quill-e-yew-t)
  • Quilayute ( Quill-e-yew-t )
  • Hoh ( hoe)
  • Kalaloch ( Clay-lock)
  • Calawah (Claw-wa)
  • Sequim (S-ck-whim)
  • Tilicum (Till-eh-cum)
  • Bogachiel ( Bo-ga-she'll)
  • Sekiu ( See-ck-ew)
  • Juan de Fuca ( Wan day Few-ca)
  • Nikolai ( Nick-a-lie)
  • When we say " Oh yeah no for sure!" that means yes
  • Downtown means near the RAC and the light
  • The RAC is our local rent a space, funded by City of Forks, if you ever have the time make sure to stop into our Twilight museum and attend a event in the RAC ( Rainforest Arts Center)
  • When we say "Thriftway" we mean Forks outfitters, if you're talking to a elder, they might say "Thrifty Mart" which is the old name for the store.
  • If we say Tesoro we really mean the Fresno station
  • The Bar is Blakeslees, the pub is near Take and Bake
  • Montesano is our schools rival team for High School, Port Angeles is our rival for youth teams. Root for Forks.
  • " Ah you can see the mountains today" typically means there was a storm for some time and we couldn't see the mountains for a bit
  • "You must be a tourist?" will be asked if you're holding a umbrella. We don't use umbrellas in town because they invert during storms due to the hurricane strength winds we get. It can actually be so forceful it can hurt your arm.
  • " Going to the beach" almost always means LaPush's 1st beach.

We sure hope that you visit us and see the quietest place in the world when it’s safe to do so. Make sure to stop by The Attic and Farmstand, and as always feel free to shoot us any questions on our Instagram, @theatticinforks.

We hope you enjoyed this short article about the beautiful Forks, WA, we’ll be posting a travel guide pretty regularly on our blog so look out for them!

Written by: Emma-Grayce Fleck