Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park offers some of the most sweeping views in Washington while requiring nearly zero effort. You can drive the entire way up for incredible views. However, if you’re looking for even better views with slightly fewer people, you’ll want to do the best Hurrican Ridge hike called the Hurricane Hill trail.
A Guide to Hurricane Hill in Olympic National Park
How to reach the Hurricane Hill Trail at Hurricane Ridge
Starting in Port Angeles, it’s about a 35-minute drive up to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. This is a winding road, so expect to drive slowly and encounter traffic, especially on the weekends. As you near the top, your views will get better and better, so maybe try to be the passenger, ha!
Recent Changes to Hurricane Ridge
Sadly, the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center burnt down in the spring of 2023 and is no longer accessible. Due to the investigation and debris removal, there are instances the road will be shut down. Please check the NPS website for updated road conditions.
A Guide to Hiking Hurricane Hill
Drive 1.5 miles past the visitor center along a winding road – not suited for trailers – and you’ll end up at a small parking lot. Be aware that this will fill up fast on the weekends, and there are not more than 30 spots. This is the main hike for the parking lot, though it connects to a few other less frequented trails.
From here, get prepped to hike the 1.6-mile uphill on the Hurricane Hill trail. If you catch it in early summer, you’ll have a sea of wildflowers alongside you during the hike.
Going up above the Olympic National Park Mountains
The first half of the hike is mostly flat as you walk with the stunning Olympic Range to your left. Then, you’ll suddenly begin the 700-foot ascent to the top. With the beautiful views, take your time and don’t exhaust yourself too much.
We were lucky and had an array of wildflowers to photograph and enjoy. It made the trip so enjoyable!
At the top of Hurricane Hill
Once you reach the top, you’ll have 360-degree views, including Canada, Mt. Baker, and an unbelievable view of the Olympic National Paexcellentountains. While the views are excellent from the visitor center, this is why you took on the best Hurricane Ridge hike.
Make sure to enjoy snacks at the top and stay hydrated, as less than 5% of the trail has shade.
As this isn’t a long hike (and you can see the parking lot basically the entire way), you don’t need to bring a lot for the Hurricane Hill Trail. But please do bring sun protection, plenty of water, and if it looks stormy, a rain jacket just in case.
As always, please be respectful and thoughtful on the trail.
A short history of the area
The area now known as the park has been home to various indigenous tribes for thousands of years. They relied on the resources of the land for food, clothing, and shelter.
In the late 1800s, explorers and settlers arrived in the region, and the federal government started to take notice. In 1897, President Cleveland set aside more than a million acres as a forest reserve. President Roosevelt later designated this reserve as Olympic National Park in 1938.
The park is home to a diverse array of ecosystems, including rugged coastlines, old-growth rainforests, and alpine meadows. It’s also home to an array of wildlife, including black bears, elk, mountain goats, and marmots.
One of the park’s most unique features is the Olympic Mountains, the highest peaks in the Olympic Range. They are also the only major mountain range in the contiguous United States that runs north to south. Climbing these peaks is no easy feat, but those who make it to the summit are rewarded with stunning views.
Final Thoughts on Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Hill Trail
This was one of the first hikes I ever did in Olympic National Park, and it’s still, to this day, the best bang for your buck hike in the area. The Hurricane Hill Trail is perfect for more adventurers, though remember it will heat up during the middle of the day thanks to no shade.
Enjoy your time and happy trails!
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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Read about an incredible PNW hike here.