Location: Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park
Land Agency: National Park Service
Roundtrip: 6.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Contact: Olympic National Park
Green Trails Map: Elwha North Hurricane Ridge, No 134S
Notes: Dogs are prohibited. National Park Entry Fee Required.
Dec–Mar the road is open Fri–Sun weather permitting. All vehicles must carry chains.
Access: From Port Angeles follow Race Street south 1 mile to intersection with Park Ave. Proceed straight 0.2 mile onto Mount Angeles Road and turn right onto the Hurricane Ridge Road (aka Heart O’ the Hills Parkway). Continue for 17.5 miles to the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center.
Hiking to Hurricane Hill during the summer is a straightforward affair. Follow a long procession of people in front of you along a paved path up the flower-studded pinnacle. But during the winter months, the crowds thin out and the normally easy hike transforms into an exhilarating snowshoe trip. Hurricane Hill offers one of the most-accessible snowshoe routes in the Olympic Mountain high country. Although not overly difficult, windy and icy conditions can make the route treacherous. Snow along the ridge forms cornices and the steep slopes are subject to avalanches. But when conditions are optimal—stable snow and stable weather—the trek to Hurricane Ridge is incredibly rewarding. The Park even offers guided snowshoe hikes along the ridge on winter weekends, perfect for introducing novices to snowshoeing.
A 1.5 mile hike in summer, the route is longer in winter taking you 3.0 miles along the way to a winter wonderland granting views stretching from Mount Baker in the Cascades to Mount Garibaldi in the BC Coast Range. Mount Olympus and the Bailey Range form a great white wall to the southwest. After cresting the 5,757-ft rounded hill, venture out on its broad western shoulder for breathtaking views down into the emerald Elwha Valley.
Consider bringing along your telemark skis to carve up the peak’s southeastern bowl. Enjoy this beautiful corner of Olympic National Park now, before the glacier lilies start working their way through the frozen landscape. For by that time, bus loads of tourists will be storming the hill once again in full force!
For more information on this and other trails throughout the Olympic Peninsula, check out my best-selling full of trusted information, Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula Book.
For information on where to stay and other things to do on the Olympic Peninsula, consult Northwest Tripfinder.