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Olympic Peninsula, Wa

Hurricane Ridge: What you need to know for the Olympic National Park’s Winter Wonderland

This is Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

This is Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

Sitting at 5,242 feet above sea level, Hurricane Ridge sits, existing perfectly in the Olympic Mountains. Considered by many to be the crown jewel of the Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge is the best high-alpine destination for day trips in the summer and skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing in the winter. With a Ski run, designated snowshoe trails and vistas that rival anything in the country, Hurricane Ridge should be your destination this winter.

 

Before you go though, there are a few things you need to know:

 

 

 

The Gates Might Be Closed:

Because funding to the National Parks has been drastically cut, the road to Hurricane Ridge will only be plowed 3 times a week. Starting “around Thanksgiving”, each Friday, Saturday and Sunday this winter, the road will be plowed. That means that if any snow falls Monday through Thursday, they Olympic National Park will NOT open the road for visitors.

 

For current road and weather conditions call 360-565-3131.

 

You can also look at this website: http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/hurricane-ridge-current-conditions.htm.

 

The Hurricane Ridge Parking Lot, Olympic National Park

The Hurricane Ridge Parking Lot, Olympic National Park

 

 

Chains Are Required in All Vehicles:

According to the Olympic National Park, “Between November 20 and May 1, all vehicles traveling on the Hurricane Ridge Road above Heart O’ the Hills entrance station are required to carry tire chains. This requirement applies to all weather and road conditions.“

 

More info: http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/upload/Hurricane-Ridge-Road-Tire-Chain-FAQ-Dec-2010.pdf

 

The weather can change fast, so do not chance this one. Bring a pair of chains with you. Many stores sell chains, and if you do not use them during the winter will allow you to return them for a full refund. Be smart and be prepared.

 

Winter in full force in the Olympic National Park

Winter in full force in the Olympic National Park

 

 

The Weather Can and Will Change Quickly

What starts as a sunny morning and amazing views can quickly turn into a white-out with hurricane force winds. Always be prepared for bad weather. Bring proper clothing, sign in on snowshoe trips and hikes and bring the 10 Essentials. You are in the mountains during winter, so be ready for anything and everything.

 

Watch for Cornices along Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park

Watch for Cornices along Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park

 

 

Avalanches Do Occur and Cornices Do Break

Be aware of the avalanche risk and watch where you are walking. While the snow is beautiful, it can also turn deadly with one wrong step. Always check the conditions of the snow before you head up and stay on marked trails. I know it is tempting to take cool pictures, but is it really worth your life?

 

Great Avalanche Website: http://www.nwac.us/forecast/avalanche/current/zone/1/

 

Watch for Cornices

Watch for Cornices

 

 

One of the Three Lift-Service Ski Areas in all the National Parks

Hurricane Ridge is one of 3 Ski and Snowboard Park in the National Parks. The other two (Yosemite National Park’s Badger and Brandywine Ski Resort, Cuyahoga Valley National Park) are lame compared to Hurricane Ridge. With epic views of the Olympic Mountains to the South and stunning sights of Vancouver Island, Dungeness Spit and Mount Baker to the North and East, coming here is an absolute no-brainer.

 

A snowbaorder sits on her board after an epic day at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park

A snowboarder sits on her board after an epic day at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park

Part of the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area

Part of the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area

 

 

Best Snowshoeing in the State

I might be slightly biased on this, but every winter, snowshoe tours to the Hurricane Ridge region become the most memorable trips of the year. With spectacular views on sunny days, incredible snow covered trees after storms and amazing experiences while snowing, Hurricane Ridge is the perfect spot to experience winter. You could go to Mount Rainier, but the views aren’t that great and the crowds are usually too much of a hassle. Change up your winter plans and come to the Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge this winter. You will not regret it!

Mount Baker and Dungeness Spit from the Olympic National Park

Mount Baker and Dungeness Spit from the Olympic National Park

Snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park

Snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park

This is Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

This is Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

This is Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

This is Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

 

 

Snowshoe Tours will be available through Exotic Hikes Starting Soon. Contact us for details.

 

 

For More Information on Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area: http://hurricaneridge.com/

For More Questions, Contact Us

Phone and text: 360.350.8938

Twitter: @ExoticHikes

 

 

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One Response so far.

  1. Wendy says:

    Great information, thank you! I am (foolishly, apparently) hoping to visit Hurricane Ridge right on Thanksgiving! I’m from out of state so I’ll have a rental car…do I still need snowchains if I’m not planning on driving further than the visitor center? I would just want to park there and take the trail from there but not far since I’m new to hiking.

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