Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park in Washington is one of the most sought-after views within this Pacific northwest park. While going to the top is spectacular in and of itself, did you know there were other great things to do? Here are some things you maybe didn’t know about that are fun things to do, and everything you need to know about Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.
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Check out what to in winter (like tubing at Hurricane Ridge), what the weather is like, and what will and won’t be open when you visit. Plus some great hikes you can do with kids at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.
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Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles
The first stop you should make before heading anywhere is the visitor center in Port Angeles.
This visitor center will be on your way in, though it’s still a good drive to the heart of the park.
While there are a few visitor centers in Olympic National Park (including Hurricane Ridge), this one is open year round.
Inside you’ll find a hands on discovery room the kids will love. There are also exhibits featuring the history of the area, a bookstore, and a film you can watch to orient you to the park (upon request).
In addition, you’ll get 2 nature trails that begin at this visitor center.
If you want the trail that’s quick and easy, try the Living Forest Trail, which is only a half-mile total.
For a longer hike, the Peabody Creek Trail comes in at just over 5 miles and is rated moderate.
>> Don’t miss my full guide to Olympic National Park with Kids! <<
Drive Up Hurricane Ridge Road
Hurricane Ridge Road seems a long, windy stretch of road that goes on forever. But it’s actually quite beautiful driving up.
The road is about 17 miles to get up to the top where the Hurricane Ridge visitor center is.
The road is open in summer everyday, and on weekends in winter (plus Monday holidays).
Even still, the hours can vary in winter depending on weather and road conditions. If you do decide to go up in winter, you must carry chains (November through April).
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
**Update- Unfortunately, the Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge burned down in a fire in May 2023. 🙁
As the fire is very recent, I am leaving this info for now until plans are made for a rebuild.
As of May 2023, the road to Hurricane Ridge is closed beyond Heart o The Hills Campground (about 5 miles up the road). Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge was undergoing renovations and was closed at the time of the fire. Thankfully, no one was inside at the time of the fire.
While there are no services at the moment, the park plans to provide bathrooms once the road reopens for hikers, but know that there are no other services now.
The Hurricane Ridge visitor center and day lodge is located at the top of Hurricane Ridge Road with the Hurricane Day Lodge. It is open daily in the summers, usually through part of September. Inside you’ll get exhibits, a 20 minute film, and a gift shop. There is also a snack bar inside.
Here you can plan your guided walk, grab some souvenirs, and learn about the area.
There is plenty of parking at the top and indoor bathrooms right inside the doors, which are even open throughout winter.
In the winter, Hurricane Ridge visitor center is only open on the weekends, including the gift shop and snack area. There are a few exceptions and additional openings, so make sure to check the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center page for updates.
Hurricane Ridge Views
First, stop at Morse Creek overlook along Hurricane Ridge Road. It’s about 9 miles up from the lower/Port Angeles visitor center on the east side of the road.
Next is the view at the top. Right outside of the Hurricane Ridge visitor center you’ll be blessed with incredible views of Hurricane Ridge. You don’t have to walk far, it’s accessible, and it’s amazing.
Image by Karen Farris
Hurricane Ridge Wildflowers
If you visit in the summer, then you are in for a treat. The Hurricane Ridge becomes blanketed in alpine wildflowers, and you can see so many even from the easy trails just off the parking lot of the Hurricane Ridge visitor center.
Because of Hurricane Ridge’s elevation, the wildflowers will be best in July and August.
Check out specific wildflowers that grow around Olympic National Park.
Hurricane Ridge Webcam
Hurricane Ridge hosts two webcams so you can take a peek or check conditions.
The first camera looks southwest toward Mount Olympus. The second shows the parking lot conditions and crowds.
Hurricane Ridge Weather
The weather on top of Hurricane Ridge Road may be nothing like it is down at the Port Angeles visitor center (or elsewhere in the park!)
Summer at Hurricane Ridge may not feel like summer to you. Though it doesn’t rain as much here as the rest of the park, the temperatures are nice and cool thanks to the elevation.
Average high temperatures in summer at Hurricane Ridge are:
June- 49 degrees
July- 57 degrees
August- 57 degrees.
We visited in October and it was obviously a bit more chilly than that. In addition, it was incredibly windy.
Make sure to bring layers (and even hat and gloves) as you visit Hurricane Ridge.
Winter temperatures at Hurricane Ridge average highs in the 20’s and 30’s, so much colder!
Photo by NPS
Hurricane Ridge Hiking Trails
There are so many great hiking trails at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, and many of them are great with kids as well.
Trails Near the Visitor Center (easiest trails in Hurricane Ridge)
Big Meadow Loop
Distance: .4 mile loop
Here’s your trail if you are visiting Hurricane Ridge with little kids. It’s easy, beautiful, and short!
You can access it from the parking lot at the Hurricane Ridge visitor center. Bring the stroller if you’d like, as the trail is easy and paved. You’ll still get great views.
Cirque Rim Trail
Distance: .8 mile loop
The Cirque Rim Trail begins in the same area as Big Meadow Loop near the Hurricane Ridge visitor center. It’s basically a bigger loop that makes a bigger path around Big Meadow Loop.
From this trail, you’ll get great views, including seeing the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Port Angeles.
For just an additional half-mile total, you can continue up to Sunrise Point for incredible views. It does add a little bit of an elevation gain, but is still considered to be an easy hike.
Once Cirque Rim Trail breaks off onto Sunrise Point, the trail is no longer paved.
High Ridge Trail
Distance: .5 miles loop
High Ridge Trail is another loop you can do up by the visitor center. It’s an easy, partially paved trail. If you’d like, you can take the .1 mile detour up to Sunrise Point from here.
**You can mix and match between Big Meadow, Cirque Rim, and High Ridge Trail as they all are in the same area and connect**
Trails along Hurricane Ridge Road
Heart O’ The Forest Trail
Distance: 4.4 miles roundtrip
Heart O’ the Forest trailhead is accessed within the Heart O’ the Hills campground by campsite E.
Take a fairly easy (moderate toward the second half) walk through the lush green forest. You’ll love the little creeks along the way and ending at a beautiful river at the national park’s edge.
Distance: 3.4 miles
It’s rated moderate, but Hurricane Hill Trail recently underwent some moderations. It’s now a paved trail that has an elevation gain of 700 feet over 1.7 miles. You’ll get incredible views of the area and Hurricane Ridge along the way.
Hurricane Hill is one of the more popular hikes in the Hurricane Ridge area, so be sure to get there early so you have a little space.
You can access at the very end of Hurricane Ridge Road, beyond the visitor center.
Distance: 12.6 miles round trip (or 2.7 miles for shorter option)
Klahane Ridge is another great trail, though I wouldn’t say it’s a family-hike. Either option you take will end you at Lake Angeles, where you’ll then turn around and come back.
The full Klahane Ridge trail can be accessed toward the top of Hurricane Ridge Road, not quite to the visitor center. Starting here will give you a longer hike and a viewpoint at Sunrise Viewpoint.
This is no walk in the park, as you’ll gain over 4,500 feet in elevation.
If you’d like to take the shorter trail of Klahane Ridge, you can begin off Hurricane Ridge Road as well. This trailhead is not quite as far up as the trailhead above and will take you to a switchback point of Klahane Ridge trail.
This option is 2.7 miles roundtrip, but it still has a tough 1,450-feet elevation gain. And while it’s tough, it pays off in mountain and ocean views.
This would be a better option if you have older kids/teens who are accustomed to tough hiking.
Take plenty of water (and then some) to help deal with the intense elevation gains.
Hikes from Hurricane Ridge Road (That Aren’t Family Friendly)
Obstruction Point Trail from Hurricane Ridge Road, is a hike of over 15 hard miles. It takes you to the top of Obstruction Peak.
Heather Park is a loop that begins in the same place as Lake Angeles Trail. It’s nearly 12 miles of tough hiking that gains almost 5,000 feet.
Lake Angeles Trail
Lake Angeles is an 8 mile, roundtrip hike that you’ll gain over 2,400 feet of elevation on.
While you can access Lake Angeles with the Klahane Ridge trail, this is another main trail that feeds into it.
To access the Lake Angeles Trail, you’ll turn onto a side road off Hurricane Ridge Road, just past Lake Dawn Rd(on the Right) and Mt Angeles Rd (on the left.)
There is a small parking area at the end of this where you can begin the trail.
NPS Photo by Danielle Archuleta
Winter at Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge Skiing
At Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, there are two tow ropes (plus a poma lift, a tow rope with a seat, basically) in a family-friendly area for you to enjoy the day skiing and snowboarding.
This whole operation is run by the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club. It’s open on Saturdays and Sundays (and Monday holidays) in the winter through March if the weather is right!
Being able to take a ride up the mountain and ski in a national park is a bit of a bucket list experience. The only other national park with that capability is Yosemite (some argue Coyahoga Valley National Park is another, but that ski lift is just really close to the national park).
You can buy a pass just for the bunny hill, just the intermediate hill, or an all day pass to ski at Hurricane Ridge. They even have ski lessons available.
One nice thing is that there are only 175 parking spaces, so it can’t get overcrowded. If the lot fills, it goes to a one-car-out, one-car-in process.
Hurricane Ridge Tubing
To go tubing at Hurricane Ridge, you’ll go to the same area as the skiing, as it is run by the same company.
You can purchase a tubing pass at the Mountain Operations Center at the summit. The pass includes 10 runs on the tubing hill.
They do NOT need to all be used on the same day, but they do need to be used within 30 days of purchase.
Current cost of a tubing pass is $22.
Free Tubing and Sledding at Hurricane Ridge
If you don’t mind hauling your equipment back up the hill yourself, then you can go sledding or tubing at Hurricane Ridge for free at the Small Children’s Snowplay Area just west of the visitor center.
This is only open to kids ages 8 and under. Anyone older will need to purchase a pass to the official tubing area.
Snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge
Toward the top of Hurricane Ridge (but not all the way at the end of the road) is the Hurricane Ridge visitor center. There’s a decent size parking lot here.
After parking, head to one of the trailheads right off the parking lot (the opposite side of the road as the visitor center). These are nice and easy, flat trail areas where you can enjoy snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge.
If you choose to venture beyond these short little trails, make sure to sign the log in the entryway of the visitor center. This is a good way to stay safe so someone knows you are “out there” somewhere.
You can also choose to snowshoe with a park ranger. These walks are less than a mile, but can take up to an hour and a half.
Sign up by 1:00 pm to enjoy a walk at 1:30. There is no cost to this and snowshoes are provided.
FAQ about Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park
Is Hurricane Ridge worth visiting?
Hurricane Ridge is definitely worth visiting. It adds a whole new dynamic to Olympic National Park that you don’t get elsewhere in the park. After your days in the rainforest, you get to come to this totally different stop with huge mountain ranges and hiking trails.
Where is Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park?
Hurricane Ridge is located within the city of Port Angeles, which is the gateway to Olympic National Park. Hurricane Ridge is on the northern side and toward the east of the national park. Simply take Hurricane Ridge Road up about 17 miles to get to the visitor center with incredible views.
Are dogs allowed at Hurricane Ridge?
Dogs are not allowed at Hurricane Ridge. They are permitted in a few select locations in Olympic National Park, but Hurricane Ridge and the trails surrounding it is not a location.
Your Visit to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park
While it may seem that going to Hurricane Ridge may just be a quick stop with a great view, it can be so much more! Any time of year you can find great things to do at Hurricane Ridge. Go snow tubing, skiing, or take one of the great hiking trails at Hurricane Ridge.
I love the variety of things to do no matter what time of year it is. And I, of course, love that there are so many things to do with kids at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.
Check out my full guide to Olympic National Park with Kids!