Hurricane Hill Snowshoe
Hurricane Ridge is the preeminent destination for folks who want to see the beauty of Olympic National Park any time of the year. When winter rolls in and the broad, sweeping meadows of the ridge are blanketed in snow, and the high jagged peaks of Bailey Range are swaddled in white, the area is unbelievably beautiful. All the best--and some of the worst--aspects of snowshoeing are found here. Wide, wonderful panoramic views; alpine meadows of rolling snowdrifts; frosted evergreens and dark, brooding forests; and occasionally, frigid, scouring winds that blind all visitors with white-out conditions.
Hurricane Ridge, and the snowshoe hike to Hurricane Hill, offers the best views in the park of majestic Mount Olympus. The peak so captivated early explorers with its beauty that the mountain was deemed worthy of being home to the gods.
Heading west from the lodge, snowshoe along the roadway as it rolls around the flank of the Hurricane Ridge meadows. The road soon enters forest and drops gently with the ridge for nearly a mile. The trail levels out along a high saddle, passing a broad picnic area near the end of the road. A brief climb from the picnic area takes you to the end of the road at 1.5 miles. At this point the real snowshoeing work begins. If you are just looking for a quiet stroll, turn back here and explore the trailside meadows on your return trip; but if you are looking for more of a challenge, continue toward Hurricane Hill.
Following the general path of the small hikers' trail west from the end of the road, snowshoe steeply up an exposed ridgeline to the top of Hurricane Hill. The trail stays on the west side of the ridge, passing under two tricky avalanche chutes. Snowshoers will do better to merely stick to the narrow (sometimes, knife-edged) ridge crest all the way to the top. If the snow is heavily crusted or icy, even snowshoes with heavy cleats will not be enough to ensure safe footing, so come prepared to turn around before reaching the true summit of Hurricane Hill.
Even if the top isn't reached, the views are spectacular all along the trail. To the north, the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a dark blue ribbon between the Olympic foothills and the far shore of Canada's Vancouver Island. Northeast, the San Juan Islands are seen cradled in the calm, blue waters of upper Puget Sound, with Mount Baker rearing its icy head beyond. To the east, Mount Angeles and McCarthy Peak jut up at the far side of the Olympic Mountains. To the south, Mount Olympus reigns supreme, dominating the impressive Bailey Range.
Please contribute $15.00 gas money to your driver and bring bag for wet boots
Equipment recommended: 10 essentials, Snowshoes, Trekking poles, Gaiters , Warm clothing and warm gloves, Lunch/snacks/water
There is beauty to behold in every direction. But there is also the possibility of danger. Weather on Hurricane Ridge is unpredictable and prone to rapid changes. Come prepared for a variety of conditions--sunny days can quickly fade into heavy fog and frigid temperatures. Calm weather can give way, in just minutes, to heavy winds and white-out conditions. Be ready for extreme conditions, and be willing to turn back the moment the weather starts to turn foul.
Author’s Rating: Easiest to More Difficult
Generally good trails for beginners, with moderate elevation change and minimal avalanche danger. Driving Directions:
To get there, from Port Angeles drive 17 miles up Hurricane Ridge Road to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Park near the lodge, and sign in with the rangers at the center.
Disclaimer: We will be in the wilderness. Serious injury or death can occur. We are not professional guides nor do we claim to be experts. It is not our responsibility to get you to the listed destination. We hike at our own pace. By attending this hike you are assuming responsibility for your own personal safety and we will not be held responsible.