At 5,242 feet elevation in the park’s northeast corner, Hurricane Ridge is accessible by road and the quickest way to go from sea level to the mountains. It’s just a 17-mile drive from the Port Angeles to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center with restrooms, information desk, exhibits, movie about the park, gift shop and snack bar.
Spring through Fall on Hurricane Ridge
In spring and summer, the meadows are covered with wildflowers, and clear-day views of the park’s peaks are fantastic. In autumn, the grasses turn golden.
A favorite moderate hike that includes epic views of the Olympic Mountains along the way and ends with an aerial view of Port Angeles and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is Hurricane Hill, a 3.2-mile roundtrip out and back trail. From 2018 through 2020, Hurricane Hill Trail underwent an improvement project and after three years reopened on August 10, 2020. See the improvements at www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/hurricane-hill-trail-project.htm.
Other easy hikes on Hurricane Ridge include the Cirque Rim (1-mile roundtrip), Big Meadow (Half-mile roundtrip) and High Ridge (1.2-mile roundtrip including spur to Sunrise Point). Consult a trail map for more challenging hikes and backpacking routes.
Winter on Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge is a popular spot for snowshoeing and skiing with an average of 30-35 feet of snow in the winter. It’s only one of three U.S. national parks with a ski lift. There are also backcountry snowshoe and cross-country ski trails for self-guided recreation. Rent snowshoe and skis, or signup for a snowshoe ranger walk in the gift shop of the visitor center.
The winter season at Hurricane Ridge is approximately mid-December through the end of March. For the 2019-2020 season, the scheduled operating days are November 23 through March 31 with the road and visitor center closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.
In winter, the road to Hurricane Ridge is only plowed Friday through Sunday and is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days. But, temporary road closings can happen at any time dependent on snowfall. All vehicles are required to carry tire chains and must be below the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station by 5 p.m. during the winter season. Check current road conditions by calling (360) 565-3131, on Twitter @HRWinterAccess or online at www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/current-road-conditions.htm.