Easy to access and incredibly scenic, Hurricane Ridge is Olympic National Park’s most-visited area.
Just 17 miles from the city of Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge stands in sub-alpine terrain at at 5200 feet elevation, so the wide-open vistas greet you the minute you step out of your car.
Getting There: As you enter downtown Port Angeles from the east on US-101, turn left on Race Street (milepost 249) and head south for 1.2 miles, then bear right onto Hurricane Ridge Road (also called Heart o’ the Hills Parkway). You will pass the Olympic National Park Visitors Center and Wilderness Information Center. Keep driving the 17 miles to the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center. The road to Hurricane Ridge is open year-round (weather permitting) though you must carry tire chains in winter. The road averages a 7% grade and is a popular route for cyclists, so give them room.
Hiking at Hurricane Ridge: The easy, paved Hurricane Hill Trail is 3 miles round trip, and packs more than enough punch for most casual visitors. In summer months, wildflowers put on a colorful show at your feet. Deer and mountain goat sightings are common. On a clear day, the jagged Olympic peaks in front of you compete with distant view of Mount Baker in the North Cascades, the Straight of Juan de Fuca and even a glimpse of British Columbia’s Coast Range.
More hearty hikers may choose a longer hike if time allows, such as Obstruction Point or Sunrise Ridge.
Camping: About two miles below the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is the Heart o’ the Hills Campground, one of our favorites on the Olympic Peninsula. The 105 sites (no hookups but small RVs will fit) are set in old-growth forest, and there are campfire programs for the whole family in summer. Just across the road from the campground is a trailhead that leads to some beautiful hikes, including Lake Angeles and Heather Park. No reservations.
Photo: Hurricane Ridge wildflowers by Chiot’s Run