Hurricane Ridge is a spectacular place. With miles of hiking trails and up-close views of the mountains, this area is easily one of the most popular destinations in the Olympic National Park. You can reach it by driving up a scenic, winding road just south of Port Angeles.
The drive up Hurricane Ridge is an incredible experience on its own. The steep, narrow road winds up the mountain through dense forests for 17 miles. It remains open to traffic all summer, and on the weekends in the wintertime (weather permitting).
On the way up, the well-paved road leads through three mountain-carved tunnels. It also passes by the Heart O'The Hills campground, complete with 105 sites for camping all year, surrounded by old-growth forest.
Just before the end of the road, you'll reach the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Here, you can stop for maps, food, restrooms, and enjoy the expansive views of Mount Olympus and the Bailey Range.
Once you've parked, you can find several hiking trails to take throughout the area. One of the most popular routes is the Hurricane Hill Trail, beginning about a mile-and-a-half down the road from the visitor center.
The scenic trail is short, at about 3 miles round-trip. It follows along a ridge and up switchbacks to the top of a hill with views of the Olympics, Bailey Range, and Vancouver Island. This trail can also serve as a jumping off point for an even longer hike to the Elwha River Valley.
The wildlife in this area is amazing. It's one of the best places in the park to spot Olympic Marmots (pictured here) - which can't be found anywhere else in the world.
Blacktail deer can also be seen grazing in the area. And during the spring and summer, the meadows are lined with bright, colorful wildflowers.
It's not only a great destination for hiking in the summer, but there's plenty to do in the wintertime as well. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and sledding in the snow.
Have you been to Hurricane Ridge before? Or would you like to check it out this summer?