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Easy Hike, Mountains, Washington

Hiking at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park 

Hurricane Ridge is one of those places where you don’t just feel like you’re at the top of the world, you actually are – or almost at least! At 5,242 feet above sea level, you’re truly in the sky. The mountains disappear into the distance and you’ll even glimpse Vancouver Island across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You don’t want to miss this beauty in Olympic National Park!

Hurricane Ridge is located in the Pacific Northwest and is one of the most accessible mountains in the Olympic Mountain Range. It's only 17 miles from Port Angeles, WA which makes it a great afternoon adventure. It's a year-round destination for hikers, skiers, and snowboarders and is one of only three remaining ski areas in a US National Park. It often receives over 30 feet of snow in the winter and it's common to find snow as late as July!

Driving from Port Angeles to Hurricane Ridge

The drive from Port Angeles to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Centre at the top of the mountain takes roughly 45 minutes. It was a windy, uphill drive that gives you spectacular views of snow-capped mountains and huge expanses of forest. The trees thin out as you near the subalpine mountaintop. After rounding the final corner, a huge parking lot with breathtaking, panoramic views of the Olympic Mountain Range greets you.

You’ll notice a drop in temperature and heavy winds when you step out of your car. Hurricane Ridge is aptly named, with documented winds as strong as 75 mph! Don’t worry about being blown off the mountain, though, because they usually aren't that strong. Even though it’s often sunny in the summer, it’s still chilly and you should bring a light jacket.

Family-Friendly Activities at Hurricane Ridge

The Visitor Center has maps of Olympic National Park, exhibits, washrooms, a gift shop, and even a restaurant. The second level has in-depth exhibits about the habitats of the area and a short film that's available upon request. The Visitor Center is open daily during the summer and weekends throughout the rest of the year.

You’ll also want to enjoy the well-traversed, family-friendly hikes that circumvent the area. A single afternoon is all you need to enjoy these hikes, which range from a half mile to one mile in length. The Big Meadow Trail, Cirque Rim Trail, and High Ridge Trail offer spectacular views of the Olympic Mountain Range's white glaciers and subalpine meadows.

The area is abundant with wildlife but you’ll likely only spot butterflies and small marmots, maybe a mountain goat if you’re lucky. There are interpretive signs along the way that’ll teach you about the plant life at Hurricane Ridge.

The Big Meadow and Cirque Rim Trail

The Big Meadow and Cirque Rim Trails are fully paved, wheelchair accessible trails that meander through beautiful meadows. These easy, mostly flat trails are about a ½ mile long each and begin at the Visitor Center. As you wander through the meadows filled with wildflowers and gaze at beautiful subalpine forests, you’ll see the Strait of Juan de Fuca sparkle 5,000 feet below.

The High Ridge Trail

The High Ridge Trail is one mile long and unpaved and is more challenging than the others. You’ll wander through the beautiful meadows and after climbing a steep hill, you'll be presented with stunning panoramic views of the Olympic Mountain Range.

As you near the middle of the loop, you’ll have the option of branching off to Sunrise Point or Klahhane Ridge. The Sunrise Point trail is only a short walk up the ridge and we definitely recommended it. To really experience Sunrise Point, hike up there for the sunrise!

You can also hike to Klahhane Ridge via the Hurricane Ridge to Switchback Trail, but it's a longer 7.2-mile hike and we don't recommend it for families with young kids. It's a great hike, but not for the faint of heart.

Information & Trailhead Location

If you don't have much time to spend in the Olympic National Park, you'll definitely want to check out Hurricane Ridge. It's extremely easy to get to, is family-friendly, and, best of all, offers amazing views for little effort. It's only 17 miles from Port Angeles, WA which makes it a great afternoon adventure.

Distance ~3.2 km (2 mi)
Duration ~2 hrs + 1.5 hrs driving time
Difficulty Easy, with two paved walkways
Pricing A park pass is required to enter Olympic National Park. There are various options, but a standard one-vehicle pass is $25 for a week or $50 for the annual pass.
Notes Hurricane Ridge is easily accessible to everyone and the drive to the Visitor Center is stunning.

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4 Comments

  1. April Carlson

    Hey- i enjoyed reading about hurricane ridge but since i am not familiar with the area i wasnt sure where it is- maybe if you put that it is located in washington state at the beginning or give people a little bit of information about Olympic National park that would be helpful.

    1. Sam Cullen

      Thanks for the feedback April! I’ve added some info about Olympic National Park to the beginning :)

      1. April Carlson

        Thanks! If you have spent more time doing other hikes in the Olympic National Park I would love to read more about it

        1. Sam

          Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend too much time there, but we did hike the Klahhane Ridge trail. We were a little unprepared for it, but it was still an amazing hike! http://www.explorethemap.com/klahhane-ridge-olympic-national-park/

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