Trip Report: Olympic National Park Part 3: Hurricane Ridge

When I researched trails for my trip to Olympic National Park, every site that I encountered cautioned: no matter how crowded hurricane ridge is, don't skip this! Well I can certainly see why.

Interested in hearing more about my trip to Olympic National Park? Here's part 1 and part 2.

View from parking lot

This is the best mountain view in the park for the least effort. To get here, you drive up a scenic road and arrive at the world's most scenic parking lot at the top. Food is available at the visitor center.

Many hikes of varying difficulty leave from this area. How much of this section of the park will be passable for foot traffic will depend on what time of the year you visit. July - August is typically the driest, warmest time (and thus there won't be any snow on the trails). We visited mid-June.

Hurricane Hill Trail
A highly popular trail, for good reason. Drive a little further past the visitor center (the road becomes quite steep) until you come to a parking lot with signs for the trailhead. It is a 3.2 mile total out-and-back trail (1.6mi each way) with about 650 feet of elevation gain. This is a good trail to see marmots.

Klahane Ridge Trail:
We were only able to do part of this trail as it was still snowed out. However, Klahane ridge has some beautiful views. The entire trail is 5mi roundtrip with a 1700ft elevation gain.
As we hiked up Klahane Ridge, the mountains disappeared and emerged in and out of the clouds, miragelike, as if we had stumbled upon Shangri-Lai. Then, suddenly, we would round a corner and be faced instead with a wall of white, a massive fog bank so opaque it swallowed the mountains utterly. We were hiking in a dream at the end of the world.

There are many more trails in this area, including one which leads up to a subalpine lake (Lake Angeles) that's definitely on my list - but sadly I did not have time to hike it this trip.

You'll want to check the weather as the point of these trails is to see the mountains; however, due to the climate of the pacific northwest, the mountains are often shrouded in fog and rain clouds. Luckily, the park service has thought of this, and they have a webcam which shows you the views at the visitor center. I highly recommend checking the webcam before you make the drive up.

If you do come early in the season, you may catch the spring flowers. Additionally, mountain goats (which are not native to the olympic ranges) may be seen here. As always, please keep wildlife wild and do not attempt to approach/feed/pet any animals you may encounter.

So that's the briefest overview I can manage of the Hurricane Ridge area. Let me know - have you visited Olympic National Park? What was your favorite trail? Until next time, carry on lovely hikers! Don't forget to share and follow!


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