Adult clouded salamanders are generally brown with brassy patches on their backs and gray bellies. As salamanders age, the brassy color fades. The clouded salamander is one of the lungless salamander species; they breathe through their moist skin. Mature adults can grow to just over five inches in total length.
Clouded salamanders prefer forest habitats or burned areas that provide large decaying logs or stumps. They are often found in Douglas fir trees where they can find burrows in the wood, or spaces just under the bark to hide. They may also hide deep in rock crevices during dry and cold weather. During warm wet weather, clouded salamanders with hide closer to the surface just beneath the top layer of debris.