Hurricane Ridge: Facts, photos, descriptions and features of the favorite destination within the Olympic National Park in the Pacific Northwest.
There’s a reason why Hurricane Ridge is the Number One favorite destination within Washington State’s Olympic National Park:
Astounding, heart stopping, yet easily accessible, grandeur.
Below: A partial, yet amazing, summertime view of the Olympic Mountain range from the Hurricane Hill trail.
Port Angeles WA is just 17 miles (27.4 km) to the north of Hurricane Ridge. This equates to a 35-40 minute drive into the Olympic National Park from many of the Port Angeles hotels, motels and local vacation rentals or bed and breakfasts.
But if Port Angeles is not your starting point, then:
Along Hurricane Ridge Road which takes you from the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles to the Hurr. Ridge Visitor Center, you'll find a pull-out viewing area. If the weather is clear, a stop will reward you with an amazing view of Mt. Baker, the Dungeness Spit, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca (below).
Even if your only plan is to simply drive to the Visitor Center and back, the drive and the views at the Visitor Center would be worth it. You’ll find fantastic, nearly 360-degree views. To the south, dozens of glaciated and snow-capped Olympic Mountain peaks stretch the span of your view (partial view below). A short stroll to the north brings you access to views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and a peak at the town of Port Angeles in the distance.
If you're a power-hiker, you'll find many miles of back-country trails and campsites available to you in season, most of them accessible from the Hurr. Ridge area.
Early summer is springtime high in the Olympic Mountains. You'll find innumerable wildflowers in their seasons. A few of them are pictured below.
There's also wildlife galore. We’ve personally seen deer, Olympic marmots, Steller’s jays, hawks, eagles, squirrels, chipmunks, black bears in the distance (thankfully), and Olympic grouse.
Pictured below: 1) Half-grown fawn hiding under a fir tree at around 5,700 feet, 2) Olympic marmot, 3) Very friendly robber jay.
The trail to the top of Hurricane Hill is partially paved (see below). You'll find the trailhead not much more than a mile beyond the Visitor Center. It's a wonderful hike with great views. We’ve seen folks in motorized wheelchairs on the paved portion of this trail. Just so you know: the paving peters out for the last half-mile or so, as this is where the trail makes a final, steeper, push to the summit.
The trail stretches 1.6 miles one way and gains 700 feet in altitude - a very doable hike for most healthy individuals. Remnants of snow remain on the ground near the trails through August, and possibly all year, depending on the season’s weather.
The National Park Service provides and maintains picnic areas and restrooms at each of the the more popular trail heads, including the Hurricane Hill trailhead.
Below: Hikers along the Hurricane Hill trail in August.
While these pictures may give you some idea of the grandeur that can be
experienced at Hurricane Ridge (we hope), nothing can truly replace being there
and being immersed in it for yourself.