Hurricane Ridge is the biggest and most well known mountain range on the Olympic Peninsula in Northwest Washington state, and arguably the most beautiful part of Olympic National Park. It is named so due to the hurricane force gales that can cut through the mountains.
On the drive from Salt Creek Recreation Area to Hurricane Ridge, we stopped at the Port Angeles Wildlife Information Center, a visitor’s center, where we picked up some trail maps of the park. We picked out what turned out to be the most popular hike in the area, Hurricane Hill, a modest 3.2-mile roundtrip, 700-foot climb that promised great views of the range. We have actually done this hike twice already, as we took John’s family back to it when they came out to visit.
To get to the trailhead, it is a 17-mile drive up just past the visitor’s center, until you can go no further. The drive up is gorgeous and reminiscent of driving through Mount Rainier National Park, with sweeping views of valleys coated with dense evergreen trees as you climb higher through the alpine landscape. Adding to the beauty are the bright white and yellow wildflowers in summer that line the side of the road and pulloffs where you can see the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Views are spectacular even from the visitor’s center. As with everything, I wish the photos did it justice!
A short drive up from the visitor’s center until you can go no more, the trail starts as a pretty flat walk for a while with great views of the mountain range.
The incline starts to increase until it turns into a decent number of continuous switchbacks. The first time we climbed it, we were a little surprised because we expected it to be easy, but the second time around, it wasn’t very bad at all as we knew what to expect – either that, or our glutes are getting a lot stronger!
Finally, once you reach the top, you are rewarded with spectacular views of Mt. Olympus and the surrounding mountains, as well as more views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Port Angeles Spit, and even Victoria and other parts of British Columbia on a clear day.
We even saw Olympic marmots and chipmunks both times we took the hike, who are particularly good at posing for photos.
Overall, if you are going to do one hike at Hurricane Ridge, this seems like the quintessential one, and a great one at that!
To conclude, check out this awesome selfie we did when John’s family was out! As great as it has been travelling, it is definitely nice to see some familiar faces along the way, and it makes it that much better being able to share some of our experiences with those we care about!