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Visiting Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, Washington

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Discover year-round activities at Olympic National Park’s highest point, Hurricane Ridge. Our guide is perfect for adventurers seeking a wide range of experiences in this natural wonderland.

Visitors to Olympic National Park can take a 17-mile journey from Port Angeles to Hurricane Ridge, which gets its name for the 100 mile-per-hour winds that can occur in winter storms. On this drive, you’ll pass through a forest of Douglas firs where deer, marmots, and black bears are often seen.

The road is dotted with turnouts presenting stunning views of Strait of Juan de Fuca, Dungeness Spit, Vancouver Island, and sometimes even the northern Cascades across Puget Sound. Upon reaching the ridge top, visitors can marvel at the San Juan Islands and Canadian coast in the north; to the south are rollercoaster-like peaks of the Olympics, topped by Mount Olympus at 7,965 feet.

Has Hurricane Ridge Reopened?

The Day Lodge at Hurricane Ridge, which served as the visitor center, was destroyed in a fire in May of 2023. However, the area opened back up to visitors on June 27, 2023. Vehicle access may be limited for the 2024 season, in addition to the limitations for the previous summer season. Keep in mind that there are no indoor facilities currently available at Hurricane Ridge, so it’s important to check the weather forecast and come prepared for potential thunderstorms, rain, or cold temperatures. There are temporary trailers set up with restrooms and a visitor contact station for your convenience.

Summertime on Hurricane Ridge

At an impressive elevation of 5,242 feet (1,598 m), Hurricane Ridge is a popular attraction that draws in visitors year-round for various activities like hiking, skiing, and snowboarding. It is second only to the Hoh Rainforest as the most visited spot in the national park. During spring and summer, colorful wildflowers blanket the meadows, and on clear days, breathtaking views of the park’s peaks can be admired. As autumn arrives, the landscape transforms into a golden wonderland.

West of the Hurricane Ridge visitor center, there are several picnic areas and trailheads all along the road. The paved Hurricane Hill trail is about 1.6 miles (2.6 km) long, one-way, with an elevation gain of roughly 700 feet (200 m). It’s typical to find snow on these trails even in July. Many other dirt trails, varying in length and level of difficulty, branch off from the Hurricane Hill trail. Picnic areas provide access to restrooms, water, and paved tables for summer convenience.

For those who’d like to take in the scenery at Hurricane Ridge, they can either hike along the Big Meadow Nature Trail or drive up Obstruction Point Road, an 8-mile stretch of unpaved road. During wintertime when snow is piled up as high as 20 feet and often sticks around until June, Hurricane Ridge becomes a hub for skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing.

View of Mount Olympus and Blue Glacier from Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

Wintertime at Hurricane Ridge

Sitting at an altitude of 5,242 feet, Hurricane Ridge is Olympic National Park’s top spot for alpine adventures during the winter months, boasting an average of 30-35 feet of snow. Covered in a blanket of snow, Hurricane Ridge offers a variety of activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. The winter season at Hurricane Ridge typically runs from late November to the end of March.

Sliding & Tubing at Hurricane Ridge: At Hurricane Ridge, you can enjoy a day of sliding and tubing on the snow. Children aged eight and under are welcome to slide for free at the designated Children’s Snowplay Area located west of the parking lot. If you have your own tube or sled, feel free to bring it along; just make sure that the sled does not have runners. For visitors aged nine and above, sliding is only permitted at the designated tubing park within the Hurricane Ridge Ski Area. Please note that only tubes provided by the ski area are allowed in this area. Visit the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area website for additional information on the tubing hill.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing: Boasting convenient access and a variety of routes spanning 15 to 20 miles, Hurricane Ridge is a popular destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in Olympic National Park. While all levels of ability can enjoy the area during winter months, there is limited flat and beginner-friendly terrain available in the meadows near the parking area. More advanced skiers can venture into the backcountry to explore slopes and bowls, though caution must be taken as no trails are groomed or marked. Two unplowed roads can usually be navigated to provide access to longer routes.

Before heading out on any trip be prepared for steep terrain and the possibility of avalanches. Check current avalanche conditions before your trip. For a winter map of the area with descriptions of snowshoe and ski routes, check here: Hurricane Ridge winter map

Winter Facilities: Unfortunately, the lodge at Hurricane Ridge was destroyed in a fire in May of 2023, leaving no indoor facilities available. In their place, temporary trailers serve as restrooms and a visitor contact station. However, there is no food or rental services available, and no indoor spaces to prepare or warm up. Visitors should be prepared to use their cars as their base during their time at Hurricane Ridge.

The winter season at Hurricane Ridge typically runs from mid-December to the end of March. For the upcoming 2023-24 season, operations are scheduled to begin on November 24 and run through March 31.

Winter Travel on Hurricane Ridge: Harsh weather, snow-covered roads, unpredictable snow patterns, and winter precipitation can rapidly change any winter journey. Visitors planning a trip to the park must be ready for potentially hazardous driving conditions. All vehicles are mandated to have tire chains between November 1 and April 1 upon reaching the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station. This rule is applicable to all types of vehicles (even those with 4-wheel drive), regardless of tire quality or current weather conditions.

During this time, visitors should note that the road to Hurricane Ridge is only plowed and open on Fridays through Sundays (with additional openings on December 26- January 1, January 15, and February 19). Access to the parking lot via uphill roads will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days, but please be aware that temporary closures may occur due to heavy snowfall or a full parking lot. It is required for all vehicles to carry tire chains and 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

Weather Forecast for Hurricane Ridge
Weather Station at Hurricane Ridge

Cross country skier on Hurricane Ridge. Photo: NPS

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