Postcard Image: These giant trees and REALLY old! The main enemy to the trees is wind. Cedar trees are in the Cypress family. Can you tell I came here to hear the Park Ranger talk? What a special place this is, and a great time for us!
It's time to breathe the fresh, mile-high air on Hurricane Ridge, just 17 miles south of Port Angeles, Wash., in the Olympic National Park. You'll feel you're on top of the world. And you actually are!
Share a picnic supper on the Ridge and watch the sunset over the western range. As the moon rises you may even spot a black-tailed deer, a coyote or an Olympic marmot popping out of its burrow. With such a peaceful way to end the day, it's hard to believe this area is named for the wild winter storms that come this way!
Hurricane Ridge runs east to west on the northern side of the Olympic Peninsula, along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The tallest mountain – Mount Olympus – is 7,965 feet high. The ruggedly carved mountain range contrasts with the soft fields of wild flowers in the subalpine meadows below. And the best part is that there are numerous trails and walks to enjoy it all.
Trails: Literally hundreds of trails run through the Hurricane area:
- Hurricane Hill Trail: 1.5-mile ascent to panoramic views
- Meadow Loop Trails: short, paved, nature trails near Visitor Center, accessible with assistance
- Heart of the Forest Trail: Two-mile trail through old-growth forest
- The Hurricane Ridge area also has access to extensive backcountry in the Klahhane Ridge, Elwha Valley and Obstruction Point areas.
Camping. Camping is not allowed at Hurricane Ridge, but nearby Heart O' the Hills is a great year-round (weather permitting) campground, managed by the Park, and located on the way to the Ridge. Located just outside Port Angeles, Wash., fees are collected daily throughout summer but only on the weekends in winter. The campground offers 105 sites with picnic tables and fire pits, 1 accessible site, water and restrooms. There are no RV hookups. Firewood sales and interpretive programs are available in the summer.
High country winter fun. Come back when the snow flies. The wind may not blow you away, but you can bet the views will! Hurricane Ridge offers a family-friendly ski and snowboard area, without the high costs (the National Park charges an entrance fee, $15 per car and lift rates are reasonable) and crowded slopes of many more well known winter recreation areas.
The Ridge offers some groomed areas but for more experienced skiers, the steeps and glades are well worth the hikes to get there. At an elevation of 5,240 feet, the Ridge boasts a season that runs from mid-December through the end of March. With an annual 400-plus inches of snowfall, you'll not only enjoy the view, you'll also enjoy the mile-high fun.
Getting to the Ridge. About 17 miles south of Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is reached by taking Hwy 101 into Port Angeles, then turning south on Race Street, and take a slight right curve on to the Hurricane Ridge Parkway. From there you will see signs leading to the Park Entrance.
To get to Heart O' the Hills Campground: Follow the directions above to Hurricane Ridge Road. The Campground entrance is on the east side of the road, 4.8 miles from the Olympic Park Visitor Center and Wilderness Information Center.
Olympic Park Visitor Center and Wilderness Information Center,
Port Angeles 360-565-3130 (recording)
- ... it's time for the forest.
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