Visiting Hurricane Ridge in Washington (Full Guide)

Last Updated on July 13, 2022 by admin

Hurricane Ridge is one of the best places to visit in Olympic National Park. Located high in the Olympic Mountains, views from the ridge extend all the way to Canada on a clear day. Hurricane Ridge was named for the intense winds that can travel through the area. If you want to see snowcapped mountains, subalpine meadows, and expansive vistas, make sure you visit Hurricane Ridge. This post will provide you the information you need to know to visit Hurricane Ridge.

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Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park
My brother and Spanish sister enjoying the views!

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How to Get to Hurricane Ridge

 

The closest city to Hurricane Ridge is Port Angeles, which is about 20 miles away. If you spend the night in Port Angeles, it will only take you about 40 minutes to reach the visitor’s center at Hurricane Ridge. You’ll just take Hurricane Ridge Road about 17 miles up into the mountains. 

If you are traveling from Seattle, the most efficient option is to take the Bainbridge Island ferry and then make your way to Highway 101. This route is a little over 100 miles, and takes a little over 3 hours. However, if there’s traffic or a long ferry line, it can take considerably longer. If you’re planning on visiting during peak season (summer weekend), you’ll want to give yourself more time.

The drive to Hurricane Ridge is stunning in and of itself. There are pull-outs along the way up where you can park and take photos of the views. Give yourself extra time to enjoy the drive up to the ridge.

 

Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park
During this trip, the skies were a bit hazy from wildfires, but we still had a great time!

 

Also be sure to see our post about the Hoh Rain Forest, another must-see in Olympic National Park!
 


 

What to Bring With You To Hurricane Ridge

  • Binoculars: You’ll want to be able to see all of the details from your view at the top!
  • Power Bank: We like this cell phone charger because the cord is embedded. (One less thing to lose!) A power bank will let you charge your phone when you’re out exploring the mountains. You don’t want to run out of battery, because you’ll want to take lots of photos!
  • Water Bottle: Stay hydrated while you’re out exploring. We like this one because it’s an insulated bottle.
  • Hiking Boots: When out on the trails, you’ll want to make sure you have proper foot protection and ankle support. I’ve been using the Columbia brand for years and have really liked my boots!
  • First Aid Kit: Anytime you’re out in the wilderness, make sure that you travel with a first aid kit.
  • Day Pack: Store all of your extra layers and snacks in a comfortable day pack.

 

(Click on any of the images above to see current prices.)

Anytime you go hiking, be sure to pack the 10 Essentials.
 

 

Tips for Visiting Hurricane Ridge

  • Check out current conditions in advance of your visit. You might not expect snow, but the mountains can surprise you! The webcam will show you the view from the top as well as a view of the parking lot. If you’re planning on visiting during the winter, see this important page about winter travel.
  • If you’re planning on completing any hikes at Hurricane Ridge, you can often find recent trip reports on the Washington Trails Association website for any particular hike you are interested in. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the trip reports.)
  • To visit Hurricane Ridge, you’ll need to purchase an Olympic National Park Pass. We recommend that you purchase it online and print it out in advance. If you plan on visiting multiple national parks in the same year, you might want to look into purchasing an America the Beautiful annual parks pass.
  • We recommend that you visit on a clear sunny day in order to get the best views. If it’s cloudy, your views will be restricted. During the summer, smoke from wildfires may obstruct the views as well. There was a lot of smoke during our last visit, and although we could see the Olympic Mountains, we couldn’t see further out.
  • There’s often a lot of deer at Hurricane Ridge. Do not feed the wildlife.
  • While you’re visiting, be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles. Pack out everything that you pack in. Do not litter. Stay on marked trails. Following these guidelines will help to keep this area pristine. 
  • The visitor center at Hurricane Ridge has a gift shop and some food options, but you’ll likely want to bring your own food just in case (since it’s a limited selection). Pack plenty of snacks and water, especially if it’s during the summer and you plan on hiking.
  • At the top of the ridge, there’s really not much protection from the sun. Be sure to wear sunscreen and bring a wide-brimmed hat.
  • If visiting during the summer, try to head up on a weekday or arrive early in the morning. The parking lot can fill up quick!
  • If you plan on hiking, download the hike map in advance using the All Trails app. That way you’ll have access to a map even if you don’t have cell service. It’s also a good idea to download the National Park Services app. You can learn a lot about the park right from your phone!
 

 

deer at Hurricane Ridge
A deer by the parking lot at Hurricane Ridge

 

Check out our post about Ruby Beach, one of the best beaches in Washington State!
 

Things to See at Hurricane Ridge

Visitor Center

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
At the visitor center, there is a diorama of the mountain range.

 

Start your trip by stopping by the visitor center. It’s actually one of the better visitor centers in the state. (Be sure to check the hours of operation while planning your trip.) There’s a gift shop, concessions, and lots of cool exhibits. You’ll learn all about the area, which will help you to appreciate everything you see while you’re out exploring.

Cirque Rim to Sunrise View Point Trail

This 1.3 mile loop trail is mostly paved and friendly for most skill levels. The difficulty is rated as easy. We’ve completed this trail several times and it never fails to amaze us. With views of the mountains, beautiful meadows, and lots of deer, there were beautiful views every step of the way. 

Hurricane Hill

This hike is 3.2 miles roundtrip with 650 feet of total elevation gain. The difficulty is rated as moderate.

Klahhane Ridge

A slightly more difficult hike, Klahhane Ridge is 5.0 miles roundtrip with 1700 feet of elevation gain.

Also be sure to see our guide on what to see in Port Angeles, Washington!
 

History of Hurricane Ridge

There’s evidence that there were human inhabitants of this region over 13,000 years ago. A visiting family found woven material from a melting snowbank that turned out to be a piece of a basket that was woven thousands of years ago. A farmer near the park even found the bones of a mastodon! You can read more about the park’s early history here

There are several indigenous tribes that have associations with the lands that are now part of Olympic National Park. These include the: Hoh, Jamestown S’Klallam, Elwha Klallam, Makah, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Quileute, Quinault and Skokomish tribes. Be respectful of the lands that you visit here.

Hurricane Ridge

We also recommend that you visit the Tree of Life in nearby Kalaloch!
 

 

Where to Stay in Port Angeles

Booking.com  

The closest city to Hurricane Ridge is Port Angeles. It’s only a 40-minute drive away, which makes it a great place to stay overnight and easily access Hurricane Ridge. 

Some hotels in Port Angeles to consider include:

  • Olympic Lodge: This rustic lodge has a wood-paneled lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel has a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, as well as a wood-burning fireplace and seating area in the lobby.
  • Sea Cliff Gardens Bed and Breakfast: This Victorian-styled bed and breakfast has dramatic views of the coast. There are five guest suites with views of the water and gas fireplaces.
  • Red Lion Port Angeles Harbor: This hotel is located right on the water. Most of the rooms have views of the water.

(You can also click this link for a full list of lodging accommodations in Port Angeles.)

Some lodging options in the surrounding area include:

  • Juan de Fuca Cottages: These boutique water-front cottages are located in nearby Sequim. They have rentals for kayaks, bicycles, and snow shoes on-site as well. 
  • Lake Crescent Lodge: Located about an hour away from Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent Lodge is another beautiful place to stay. As one of the official lodges of the national park, it has beautiful views of Lake Crescent and lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation.
  • 7 Cedars Hotel and Casino: Also located about an hour from Hurricane Ridge, the 7 Cedars Hotel and Casino has dining options, a golf course, and a casino.
  • Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort: This beautiful resort is located 1.5 hours away from Hurricane Ridge, but it contains a unique feature… hot springs! The resort is open seasonally, so check their calendar for availability.

Campgrounds

The closest campground to Hurricane Ridge is the Heart O’ the Hills Campground. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the visitor center. The campground has 105 campsite in an old growth forest. There are no reservations. It’s first-come, first-served. 

The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort Campground is about 1.5 hours away. Campers have access to the mineral hot springs and to the pool.

Hurricane Ridge
My mom and husband at Hurricane Ridge

 

Where to Eat Near Hurricane Ridge

At Hurricane Ridge:

The only food option at Hurricane Ridge is the Mountain View Cafe, which is located in the visitor center. 

In Nearby Port Angeles:

Some restaurants in Port Angeles to consider include:

  • Downriggers on the Water: Casual seafood restaurant with views of the water. Menu items include clam chowder in a bread bowl, fish and chips, and a dungeness crab and shrimp melt.
  • Kokopelli Grill: This restaurant located near the water focuses on southwest cuisine.
  • Next Door Gastropub: This restaurant includes pub favorites like wings and burgers.

Nearby Activities

The Olympic Peninsula has so many beautiful places to see. When visiting Hurricane Ridge, we also recommend that you consider visiting the following places:

  • Olympic Discovery Trail: This mostly-paved trail is 130 miles long. It starts in the town of Port Townsend and ends at the Pacific Ocean in La Push. A portion of the trail runs through Port Angeles.
  • Hoh Rain Forest: Head into the rainforest and check out the Hall of Mosses loop trail. You’ll be in the heart of the rainforest, and everything you see will be draped in green mosses and lichens.
  • Third Beach: The trail to Third Beach is 3.6 miles roundtrip. You’ll see plenty of sea stacks from this beach hike.
  • Kalaloch Beach: This beach is large and sandy. The beach is near the Kalaloch Lodge and Kalaloch Campground and is easily accessible. We recommend watching the sunset here!
  • Tree of Life: Located at Kalaloch Beach, the Tree of Life is a tree with its roots nearly full exposed due to erosion. If you’re at Kalaloch, you don’t want to leave without seeing it!
  • Big Cedar Tree: A very short .1 mile trail will take you a massive Cedar tree believed to be over 1,000 years old. After storms in 2014, it was split nearly in two.
  • Lake Crescent: This beautiful lake is located in the Olympic Mountains.
  • Sol Duc Falls: To reach the falls, you’ll complete a beautiful 1.6 mile roundtrip hike. 
  • World’s Largest Spruce Tree: The tree has a circumference of 58 feet, 11 inches.
  • Forks, Washington: This is the town where the Twilight book series takes place. Fans of the books will enjoy seeing many of the places mentioned in the books.
  • Port Townsend, Washington: This historic seaport is known for its coastal views and Victorian-style buildings.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge
Lots of flora at Hurricane Ridge!

 

How long does it take to hike the Hurricane Ridge trail?

There are several hikes at Hurricane Ridge. The Cirque Rim to Sunrise View Point trail is a 1.3 mile loop that can be completed easily in under an hour. The Hurricane Hill trail is 3.2 miles, and would likely take a few hours to complete.

Is Hurricane Ridge a hard hike?

There are several hiking trails at Hurricane Ridge. The Cirque Rim to Sunrise View Point trail is fairly easy (1.3 miles), while the Hurricane Hill trail is more of a moderately difficult hike (3.2 miles with 650 feet of elevation gain).

Do you need a Discover Pass for Hurricane Ridge?

To enter Hurricane Ridge, you’ll need an Olympic National Park pass. The pass can be purchased online in advance of your visit here

What is the elevation of Hurricane Ridge?

The visitor center sits at an elevation of 5,242 feet.

When is the best time to visit Hurricane Ridge?

Hurricane Ridge is very popular to visit during the summer. If you visit on a clear day, you’ll have expansive views of the entire region. Hurricane Ridge is also fun to visit during the winter if you like snow sports. There is limited access during the winter. (Typically restricted to weekends.) You can read more about the winter schedule here.

Is Hurricane Ridge worth visiting?

Absolutely! It’s one of the crown jewels of Olympic National Park. You’ll be able to have up-close views of the mountains.


 

Summary

Hurricane Ridge is a must-see destination within Olympic National Park. We recommend that you time your visit for a clear day so that you can make the most of the expansive views!

Pinterest hurricane ridge
Pin for later!

 

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Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please see individual websites embedded in this post for the most current trip-planning information.


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