Hoh Head is a massive headland north of the Hoh River in Olympic National Park, Washington. The name of the headland and the river are from the Quinault language. The indigenous people here are known as the Hoh, but they call themselves chalat’. Their name for the Hoh River is chalak’ac’it. The Hoh people moved onto the Hoh Indian Reservation at the mouth of the river after the signing of the Quinault Treaty on July 1, 1855.
The earliest documented encounter between Europeans and the Hoh people occurred in 1787. The British fur trader Charles William Barkley, captain of the Imperial Eagle, dispatched a boat up the Hoh River to trade with the Natives, but the boat’s crew of six never returned. In 1808, the Russian American Company schooner Nikolai ran aground at Rialto Beach north of the Quillayute River. Tensions between the crew and the local Hoh led to a battle causing the Russians to flee south along the coast to the mouth of the Hoh River where many were taken captive. The captives were exchanged and traded among the coastal tribes, most ending up with the Makah in the Neah Bay area. In 1810 the Lydia, commanded by Captain T. Brown, an American working for the Russian American Company, sailed into Neah Bay. The thirteen surviving captives being held by the Makah were ransomed by Captain Brown, who then returned them to Sitka.
On the north side of the mouth of the Hoh River, across from the Hoh Indian Reservation, the town of Oil City was established in 1911 by Frank W. Johnson and the Olympic Oil Company. Natives had already discovered the oil, which seeps to the surface. Oil drilling operations were conducted by the Milwaukee Oil Co., the Washington Oil Co., the Jefferson Oil Co., and others in the surrounding areas, but no significant commercial oil reserves were found. Today, the Oil City Trail, managed by Olympic National Park, begins on the north side of the mouth of the Hoh River and runs about a mile to the Pacific coast, and from there, hikers can access Hoh Head by following the coast. Read more here and here. Explore more of Hoh Head here: