Hurricane Ridge
in Olympic National Park, Washington State

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: 

  • Sequim is 35 miles (56.3 km) away, roughly an hour's drive from the Visitor Center at Hurricane Ridge
  • Port Townsend is 65 miles (104.6 km) away, or approximately a 1.5 hour drive
  • Forks is 68 miles (109.4 km) away, or around a 1.7 hour drive
  • Seattle via Bainbridge ferry is 100 miles (160.9 km) away. It'll take you about 3 hours, counting the ferry crossing and any wait times.

Hurricane Ridge


Hurricane Ridge Washington Facts

  • Park fees are per vehicle, currently $30 for a private auto and passengers. Or purchase a year pass for $55. That's what we do. Olympic NP Fees. Purchase your pass online.

  • The altitude of the Visitor Center is just under one mile high. 5,242 feet is the official measurement.

  • The road to the Visitor Center is open 7 days a week throughout Spring, Summer, and early Fall. During late fall and winter, however, the road is only open weather-permitting. You must at least carry chains with you in the vehicle from November through March.

  • Average annual snowfall at Hurricane Ridge is 400+ inches per year. (That's 33+ feet of snow!)

  • Check road conditions via:
    Twitter: HRWinterAccess
    Phone: 360-565-3131
    Webhttp://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/hurricane-ridge-in-winter.htm

  • There are two live webcams at the Hurricane Visitor Center:
    Pointing east-northeast toward sunrise and parking lot. Find both of them here: https://www.nps.gov/olym/learn/photosmultimedia/hurricane-ridge-webcam.htm

  • The Visitor center is open year round. In the summer you’ll additionally find a manned information desk, gifts, food, and restrooms available. The Visitor Center is also staffed during weekends in the off-season.

  • The mountain habitat is considered sub-alpine. You’ll find both forests and flowered meadows.

Your Experience Begins Before You Arrive

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.

Here's what other visitors have said via TripAdvisor

Early summer is springtime high in the Olympic Mountains. You'll find innumerable wildflowers in their seasons. A few of them are pictured below.

Bluebells on Hurricane Ridge
Hot 'orange' flower on Hurr Ridge
White blooms look like fireworks on Hurr Ridge
Dramatic tiger lilies on Hurricane Ridge
Wild rose bloom (close up)
Close up of tiny white flowers on Hurr Ridge

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.

Half-grown fawn hiding under a Fir tree on Hurr Hill
Robber Jay at Hurricane Hill

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.

See Hurricane Ridge in Winter

More Hurricane Ridge Photos

 

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