Results 1-9of 9 Reviews
Olympic Peninsula, Washington
August 30, 2008
From journal Port Angeles... So Much To Do!
by gowest youngman
January 21, 2008
From journal Awesome Olympic Peninsula
January 22, 2006
From journal Washington: Big Beaches, Big Mountains, Big Forest
Port Angeles, Washington
October 18, 2005
While Port Angeles rarely sees snow, we are fortunate to be able to enjoy snow sports in the winter by driving 45 minutes up to the top of Hurricane Ridge. Olympic National Park works hard to keep the road open in the winter. It is typically open Friday through Monday, if the weather cooperates. The road is normally snowy and icy, even when plowed, so drive cautiously. Visitors can enjoy sledding, downhill skiing, snow boarding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. There is not a chair lift, but a small rope tow can be used for downhill activities (or you can pick you own spot and hike the uphill parts!) There is a Visitor's Center open, with a snack shop and gift shop as well.
The day I went to Hurricane Ridge was a rare day of winter sunshine on the Olympic Peninsula. I started out with intentions to visit a ranger friend who was working that day and maybe take some pictures. Well, it is a good thing I also brought my outdoor clothes, because I couldn’t resist the sparkling snow and blue sky. My friend loaned me her snowshoes and poles and off I went to tackle the 6 mile round trip trek to the top of Hurricane Hill. I haven’t done a lot of snowshoeing, but it is so easy that anyone could do it. It is just like hiking but the stance is a little wider and you have to be careful not to step on your opposite snowshoe. I highly recommend ski poles – they really help.
The first mile of this trip follows a road bed that is open in the summer for driving. This first mile is fairly flat, but the second two miles are mostly uphill, gaining about 700 feet in elevation. Since there hadn’t been fresh snow for a few days, there were plenty of ski and snowshoe tracks for me to follow. Once I started heading uphill, the views got better and better. The trees were all caked with snow. Some of them looked like they could be out of a Dr. Suess book. I kept trudging uphill, following three or four different ridges until I made it to the top (or pretty close to it). From the little nob that I climbed up, I had a 360-degree view, which was fantastic. The Olympic Mountains were shining with snow to the south, west, and east. To the north, I had a clear view of Port Angeles, the Straight of Juan de Fuca, and Vancouver Island in Canada. I watched a big ship moving slowly through the blue water before heading back downhill. What a perfect day!
Snowshoes equipment can be rented in Port Angeles at Olympic Mountaineering, 140 West Front Street (downtown). Cost is $12 per day for snowshoe/pole package, and they also have a cross country ski package for $16.
Call (360)565-3131 ahead to make sure the road is open and get an update on conditions on Hurricane Ridge.
From journal Hiking Guide to Olympic National Park
November 6, 2004
The trails around the visitor center do not take a long time to cover, but they do offer some spectacular views of the San Juan De Fuca Bay and the ridge. It was on one of the popular loop trails that we saw the deer. You can also see the primitive ski equipment, which we are told is still operational.
One had to drive to get the longer trailhead. There is another parking lot here. We hiked this trail for a while, getting amazing views of the glaciers, spotting small forest animals, and seeing other hikers of all shapes and sizes. The climbs can be quite strenuous here.
You are pretty much guaranteed to see a deer, passing almost close enough to touch it. Sometimes they are thick up here, but when I visited, I only saw one lone doe . . . and heard dozens of clicks as we all tried to capture her on camera. The deer seem to be completely unafraid of humans.
This is a popular place, easily accessible, well-known, and good for nature lovers of all ages and abilities. On this sparsely populated peninsula, Hurricane Ridge may hold most of the visitors at any one time. After all, it is right off the highway closest to a major town. You won't find solitude here, but you will find beauty and nature, which rarely accompany such popularity.
From journal Autumn on the Olympic Peninsula
December 4, 2003
Blacktailed Deer (see warning above) and marmots are frequent visitors, and often they can be seen on the trail. There are isolated areas on top of this hill where trees provide shade for rest. Winds blow hard here, so I advise bringing a windbreaker even if doesn’t feel windy at the visitor station.
There is a national park campground that appeared to be well-maintained at the end of the connecting Heart O' Hills trail. If you want to do backcountry camping, you must get a permit in the trailer behind the visitor center. They will also supply you with bear canisters for a minor fee. In the winter there is a small ski run used here, and another couple from Seattle told us it is a nice hike in Snowshoes.
From journal Olympia National Park
by Mary Dickinson
June 22, 2003
Grateful we finally made it, we parked our car near the Hurricane Ridge Lodge. A fawn came over to greet us. A sign nearby warned us not to feed him or we would be fined. In the interpretive center on the top floor of the lodge, there is a big layout of the mountains with their names, trails, and characteristics. An interpreter was on hand to answer any questions.
Downstairs, there was a store with gifts, maps and books, and a small restaurant. The gift shop was having its summer clearance sale. Everything was half price so I bought a lighthouse print jacket and some pictures of Indian totums. We all ordered hot chili with beans in the restaurant and went outside on the patio to eat and enjoy the scenery. Fawns were always nearby looking for an illegal handout.
We could see mountains in the distance covered with glacial ice on their rocky peaks. The green lush valleys have stands of mountain hemlock, subalpine fir, and Alaska yellow-cedar. 95% of the Olympic National Forest is protected. It was mid September when we were there, but the air had a chill indicating the 400+ inches of annual snowfall would start soon. The Ridge offers steeps, bowls and glades for the accomplished skier and snowboarder. There is a $10 per car park entry fee in the winter months and the road is only opened on weekends from 9am-4pm. The ski lifts operate from 10am-4pm. The gift shop turns into a winter sports equipment rental shop.
Before we left the Ridge I hiked up to the overlook and took a picture of Port Angeles with the Strait of Juan De Fuca and Victoria, British Columbia all visible in the far distance.
From journal Port Townsend, Washington Vacation
January 12, 2003
The winter fun on Hurricane Ridge is plentiful! There are areas set aside for sledding and inner-tubing. On the day that I went up, there were many families frolicking on sleds and taking cute family pictures, with kids acting like kids and adults acting like kids. While there are no chairlifts, there is a rope tow to take downhill skiers and snowboarders to the top of a moderate hill. The more adventurous downhill folks head for the backcountry and ski and snowboard some wild areas, but must be tough enough to hike back up the hills after the fun run is over. This is a pretty risky venture, as there is a danger of avalanche, and of not being found if needed in these remote areas. I recommend sticking to established downhill areas. Finally, opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are limitless. There are somewhat established cross-country and snowshoe trails, and again I recommend sticking to those. Since I am dangerously uncoordinated on cross-country skiis, I borrowed a pair of snowshoes for a 3-mile (one-way) trek up Hurricane Hill. My pictures are from that sunny, perfect day.
The visitor center on Hurricane Ridge is open when the road is open. There is a ranger or volunteer available to answer questions, and also a snack shop, gift shop, and restrooms. There are free ranger-guided snowshoe walks on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2pm on the days the road is open.
Cross-country ski equipment and snowshoes are available for rent in Port Angeles at Olympic Mountaineering. The cross-country ski package is $16 per day. The snowshoe package is $12 per day. Olympic Mountaineering also gives cross-country ski and avalanche classes. Call them at (360) 452-0240 or see their website. The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club gives downhill and snowboard lessons. Their number is (360) 417-1542. They would also have information regarding possible downhill ski and snowboard rental.
From journal Olympic Peninsula for all seasons
Grants Pass, Oregon
October 7, 2000
From journal Olympic National Park