Olympic National Park: Hurricane Ridge


After stopping at the main Visitor’s Center at Olympic National Park, Jon and I headed up the mountain for a little hiking at the top of the ridge itself.  The top of Hurricane Ridge is 17 miles south of Port Angeles, but the road has a lot of twists and turns, so it takes about 45 minutes to get from the Visitor’s Center to the top of the ridge.

Hurricane Ridge is named for the strong winds that frequent the area, and snow is common even as late as July.  With the panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains, it is a popular hiking spot in the spring, summer and fall, and there are skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing opportunities in the winter.  People frequently see wildlife, including deer, elk, bear and a type of marmot that only exists on the Olympic Peninsula.  We were eager to see what everybody raves about!

As we began our drive the weather was cloudy but dry, and we stopped at a few of the scenic viewpoints along the way.  The view on a clear day is supposed to be spectacular, but with the clouds we couldn’t see out that far.  Then, as we were standing there taking some photos, we felt a couple of drops of rain.  Now, we both grew up in the Northwest, so a little rain won’t deter us.  We got back into the car and continued on our way.

Me on our way up to Hurricane Ridge - that smudge above my right shoulder is a raindrop on the camera lens.

Me on our way up to Hurricane Ridge – that smudge above my right shoulder is a raindrop on the camera lens.

Soon, we were almost at the top of the ridge, and the skies opened up into a huge downpour!  We ran from the car into the Visitor’s Center at the top of the ridge, and in a 20 second run we were soaked!  The pictures don’t do it justice, but believe me it was really wet!

You can't tell in this photo, but it was raining really hard.  So much for the view...

You can’t tell in this photo, but it was raining really hard. So much for the view…

The "View" from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor's Center.  Awesome, right?

The “View” from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center. Awesome, right?

The torrential downpour changed our plan to do some hiking at the top of the ridge, so we had some coffee at the Visitor’s Center, and I got some awesome postcards of the view that I wasn’t going to see for myself…

I love these old style postcards - Hurricane Ridge View of the Mountains

I love these old style postcards – Hurricane Ridge View of the Mountains

There were no eagles flying around in the torrential downpour either!

There were no eagles flying around in the torrential downpour either!

Check out the bears!  We never saw any real ones - they were staying inside!

Check out the bears! We never saw any real ones – they were staying inside!

This is what Hurricane Ridge would look like on a clear day.

This is what Hurricane Ridge would look like on a clear day.

Well, not every day of sightseeing can come off without a hitch…  Sigh… The good news is, we have a reason to come again.  And I spotted a winery on the way out to the park – we stopped by on the way back!

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5 thoughts on “Olympic National Park: Hurricane Ridge

  1. Years ago we camped overnight at the Hoh River campground in Olympic National Park. It hadn’t rained for 40 days there (some sort of record, I guess), but sure enough, we broke the drought. It rained so hard and so long that we and everything in our little pup tent were drenched. Sensing that the rain wasn’t going to let up anytime soon, we dressed in wet clothes, collapsed the tent with everything in it, rolled it into a soggy burrito, shoved it in the back of the car and took off for Canada.

    We were forced to stay at a motel in appropriately named Hope, B.C. that night so we could dry all our clothes and gear. I’m sure wine was on the dinner menu that night!

    That experience notwithstanding, Olympic NP is beautiful beyond words, as are most of our National Parks. Thanks for rekindling a memory.

    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      The next post will be about our visit to the Hoh Rainforest, where ironically, it didn’t rain! I’m not much for camping, so an experience like that would certainly have me heading for a hotel, preferably with a hot tub. And of course, wine. It is a fabulous park though!
      Camille

  2. Such a bummer that you ran into bad weather at Hurricane Ridge. I was lucky when I visited last year that it was a clear day. It was the end of August and there was still snow/ice which was pretty amazing!

    • It was a bummer, but there were some neat parts of the trip coming up (where it wasn’t raining!) Seeing the view on a clear day would have been amazing – I am hoping to get back there next season for some hiking. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Farewell to Another Year – See you later 2013! | Wine and History Visited

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