Sunrise Ridge─What a setting!

A pair of hikers head toward Mount Angeles

A pair of hikers head toward Mount Angeles

Quick Facts:

Location: Olympic National Park – Hurricane Ridge Road

Land Agency: National Park Service

Roundtrip: 5.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 1,100 feet

Green Trails Map: Elwha North-Hurricane Ridge No. 134S

Contact: Olympic National Park

Access: From Port Angeles, follow Race Street south to Mount Angeles Ave to the Heart O’ the Hills Parkway (Hurricane Ridge Road). Proceed 17.5 miles on this road all the way to its terminus at the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center. Trail begins at the Big Meadow Parking Lot.

Notes: National Park entry fee; dogs prohibited.

Good to know: kid-friendly, exceptional wildflowers

Most visitors to Hurricane Ridge intent on stretching their legs soon find themselves marching towards Hurricane Hill. The pavedDSC03218 path to the rounded knoll sure delivers some impressive views—and it’s a hike that can be completed by just about everyone. But, if Hurricane Hill is a little too tame and a tad bit busy for your tastes, consider Sunrise Ridge.

Sunrise Ridge delivers the same jaw-slacking far-sweeping views as Hurricane Hill, but without the asphalt and crowds. And chances are good on Sunrise Ridge, especially in the mornings or evenings, of encountering some resident wildlife. Deer, bear, coyote, and the ubiquitous ground squirrel all make themselves right at home along this delightful trail. And in summer wildflowers grow in profusion here; from magenta paintbrush, to spreading phlox, penstemon, lupine, bistort, and larkspur. But a hike here in Autumn has its delight too from swirling clouds wrapping around a panoramic of peaks to horizon-spanning views on those crisp blue bonus good weather days.

From the busy parking lot, head over to the nature trails for the Mount Angeles Trail. Start by following the paved High Ridge Nature Trail. Pavement ends after cresting a small knoll serviced in winter by a surface ski lift. Just beyond in a small saddle, come to a junction. The trail left heads back to the parking area. The trail north leads 0.1 mile to Sunrise Point, a 5450-foot viewpoint on the ridge. It’s a nice spot, but it gets better down the trail. So head right, dropping 200 feet from the saddle, leaving the hubbub of Hurricane Ridge behind.

Gaze north, out across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to massive Vancouver Island. Scan the horizon eastward to snowy Glacier Peak rising above rows of Cascades Peaks. Turn your attention south to the Olympic Peninsula interior, to an emerald sea punctuated with craggy summits adorned in ice and snow. Mount Olympus, the centerpiece of this magnificent wilderness setting, dominates the southwestern horizon.

Of course, it’s impossible to ignore the imposing peak in front of you—the one growing taller with each step, 6454-foot Mount Angeles. In 2.6 miles, the trail delivers you right to the base of this locally-prominent peak. A climbers path takes off to the left while the Hurricane Ridge Trail continues right, skirting the southern slopes of the rocky mountain. This is a good spot to turn around and enjoy all those views all over again.

For more detailed information on this hike and 124 others, check out my best-selling and trusted by many,  Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula Book.Day Hiking Oly BookFor information on where to play and stay on the Olympic Peninsula, consult Northwest TripFinder.NWTFmasthead_layers15

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