One of the most scenic hikes on the Olympic Peninsula may be Hurricane Ridge. Located in Olympic National Park, this hike gets its name from the hurricane-type gusts that can happen (up to 75 miles an hour!). There are nearly a dozen different trails you can choose from for hiking Hurricane Ridge, depending on your skill level and the view you want. Here is some helpful information for choosing the best trails at Hurricane Ridge and making a great day trip of it!
Tips for Hiking Hurricane Ridge
When you plan a day hiking Hurricane Ridge, you do need to be prepared. It’s not just outside of Seattle (like some people think) and there are minimal services there.
Getting to Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge is located about 3 hours northwest from Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. You’ll need to take the Edmonds-Kingston ferry or the Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry and drive up the Peninsula to get to the park. You can also drive around Puget Sound to go up the Peninsula. Plan on traffic through Tacoma though and check traffic patterns before you hit the road. Even though it takes some time to get there, this is one of the best day trips from Seattle!
Tip: if you’re taking the ferry, be sure to look at return ferry times so that you don’t get stuck somewhere late at night or have to sit through several boats on busy weekend days.
Entry into Olympic National Park
Since the hikes are in Olympic National Park, you’ll need to bring money for the entrance fee. The entrance costs $30 for a private car, $10 for bicycles or walk-ins, and $25 for motorcycles. This fee lasts for seven days, so make the most of it if you plan on doing multiple hikes.
Tip: get a National Parks America the Beautiful annual pass to save on future visits. It only takes three National Park visits in a year to make up the value!
Once you enter the park, it’s smart to check in with a ranger at the information center. They can give you any essential updates you need to know on hikes, such as any closed trails or recent bear sightings. Rangers can also listen to your plan and let you know if that sounds realistic.
The park allows camping in designated areas, so you can stay overnight if you want to explore the park for a few days. Some campsites are reservation-only, while others are first-come, first-serve. You can check the website for further information and updates on closures. FYI, since there isn’t a campground at the top, if you want to go camping while hiking Hurricane Ridge, you’ll need to look for a spot at Heart O’ the Hills campground.
Hiking Hurricane Ridge: the trails
Hurricane Ridge is the most popular hiking destination on the Olympic Peninsula. We recommend arriving as early as possible to get parking and beat the crowds. If you cannot arrive early, late afternoon (after 2pm) is also a good time if you are planning a shorter hike.
There are eight different hikes you can do at Hurricane Ridge. Some of the trails here are much more difficult than they seem at first glance, so be sure to talk to a park ranger before you hit the trail for a “short” hike.
Easy Hurricane Ridge Hikes
Even those these hikes are the easiest at Hurricane Ridge, they still showcase how strenuous hiking in the Olympics can be. Olympic National Park offers epic view AND guaranteed workouts.
- Big Meadow: Any skill level can go on this wheelchair-accessible trail, which has an elevation gain of 50 feet and is 1/2 mile round-trip. You’ll be able to get some good pictures of the mountains at the end of this trail.
- Cirque Rim: Another trail that allows wheelchairs, this is one-mile round-trip and has a 50-foot elevation gain. You’ll be able to see the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the town of Port Angeles on a clear day.
- High Ridge: This one-mile round-trip hiking trail leads to Sunrise Point, where you’ll have a panoramic view of the area. This has approximately 220 feet of elevation gain.
Moderate Hikes at Hurricane Ridge
These Olympic National Park hikes are a bit more difficult that the listed “easy” hikes. Due to the steep trails, even the shortest of these is worth taking your time to conquer.
- Hurricane Hill: This trail is popular, as it’s 700-foot elevation gain lets you see the ocean. At 3 miles round-trip, it’s still very doable for most people.
- Klahhane Ridge: You’ll gain over 250 feet in elevation within the first 3 miles on this trail and the last mile goes up to 800 feet. This is a moderately difficult hiking trail due to the steepness. This is our favorite Hurricane Ridge hike!
Difficult Hurricane Ridge Hiking
This is where avid, in-shape hikers really get to shine. These trails are strenuous, rugged and long. With thousands of feet in elevation change, these Hurricane Ridge hikes are intense and epic.
- Hurricane Hill/Elwha: You’ll take the Hurricane Hill trail and go down through the meadows to complete this 12-mile round-trip hike. There are many switchbacks and an elevation loss of 5,250-feet. Keep in mind that you have to come back up, so pace yourself accordingly.
- Wolf Creek: One of the more advanced trails, you’ll follow a dirt trail down through the Elwha Valley for a 3,772-foot elevation loss. This trail is 16-miles round-trip.
- Little River Dirt: Don’t let the “little” in this name trick you, as it’s another 16-mile round-trip hiking trail. You’ll experience an elevation loss of 4,073 feet.
Like with hiking anywhere else, remember to be wise and know your limits. Hiking Hurricane Ridge can be quite challenging and time seems to go by faster when you’re up in the Olympics. Keep an eye on the weather and amount of daylight left. Safety first!
Post-hiking Craft Beers: Barhop Brewing in Port Angeles
After all that hiking, you’re bound to be hungry (and a little thirsty). Many people in the Pacific Northwest knows that nothing goes better with a hike than a cold beer after, so head up to Barhop Brewing. This brewery is about 40 minutes north of the park in Port Angeles.
They have an impressive selection of beer, such as the Patio Pale, Heart of the Hills Pils, and Winterhop Imperial Stout. While there’s a handful you’ll always find on tap, they also offer rotating taps so so you can try something new each time you visit. These include the Respect Your Cranny Cranberry Blonde, Summerhop Stout, and Man Sized El Dorado Milkshake IPA.
When you’re ready for food, check out their wood-fired pizza selection. Whether you’re in the mood for a veggie pesto pizza or a meat-lover pizza, you’ll find it’s just what you need after hiking. The brewery also has appetizers such as a meat and cheese plate, mac ‘n’ cheese, and stuffed jalapenos.
We hope you enjoy your time hiking Hurricane Ridge. If you have any questions or addition suggestions for the Hurricane Ridge entrance to Olympic National Park, please leave a comment or contact us. We love to share complete information and feature others’ recommendations as well!