Welcome to Travel Crush, where our editors pine over places we’ve yet to explore, why they intrigue us so, and what we dream we’d accomplish once we get there. This week’s crush isn’t a city, beach resort, or mountain town—in fact, it’s just One Square Inch.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone—and for me, the thing I once had was silence.
I never thought I’d miss the quiet suburb where I grew up surrounded by trees, deer, and the humming of crickets and cicadas at night. But the longer I live in New York, where it’s nearly impossible to escape the 24/7 chorus of beeping, honking, walking, talking, playing, wailing, and arguing, the more I crave that peace and quiet—and the more difficult it becomes to find.
But just a few weeks ago, chatting with one particularly curious explorer, I discovered the tiny bit of salvation I might have left. There exists a little corner of the world—one square inch, to be precise—where not a trace of human noise can be heard at all. No civilization exists around it; no planes fly close or low enough to disturb it; if you stand very still, the only sound you’ll hear will be that of your own steady breaths.
Located at N 48.12885°, W 123.68234°, the One Square Inch of Silence is the quietest place in the entire United States. Tucked amongst ancient trees in the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park, the spot—identifiable only by a small reddish stone placed on top of a mossy log—was created to investigate noise pollution and the preservation of natural soundscapes in an age of ubiquitous noise. The goal of the project is simple: “If a loud noise, such as the passing of an aircraft, can impact many square miles, then a natural place, if maintained in a 100% noise-free condition, will also impact many square miles around it.”
I once craved the fast-paced, involved nature of cities and beaches. But the time has come for me to embrace peace, quiet, and JOMO—the blissful joy of missing out. As our cities, technology, and populations grow—and the presence of noise along with them—I’m excited to appreciate silence when and where it exists.
A Quiet Place to Stay
Continuing with the JOMO theme, I’ll take a room for one at Lake Quinault Lodge, please and thank you. Built in 1926, this rustic cabin hotel has everything from a lakeside restaurant and roaring fireplace in the lobby and to mountain views and antique clawfoot tubs in the rooms.
Obviously, there aren’t any restaurants conveniently located in the forest. After a long morning of trekking through Olympic National Park—the One Square Inch is about a 2-hour hike from the nearest parking lot—I’m excited to fill up on Wild King Salmon, marionberry pie, and wine at the lodge.
Reveling in Silence
Hike, relax, appreciate.