At an elevation of 5,242 feet (1,598 m), Hurricane Ridge is a year-round destination. In summer, visitors come for views of the Olympic Mountains, as well as for hiking. During the winter months the small, family oriented Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area offers lift-serviced downhill skiing and snowboarding.
The Olympic National Park can be viewed from the Hurricane Ridge viewpoint. The road leading west from the Hurricane Ridge visitor center has a number of picnic areas and trail heads. A paved trail called the Hurricane hill trail is about 1.6 miles (2.6 km) long (one-way) with an elevation gain of about 700 feet (200 m). It is not uncommon to find snow on the trails even as late as July. Several other dirt trails of varying distances and difficulty levels branch off of the Hurricane hill trail. The picnic areas are open only in the summer, and have restrooms, water and paved access to picnic tables.
The Hurricane Ridge visitors center offers several conveniences, including an information desk, gift-shop, restrooms, and a snack bar. The exhibits in the visitor center are open year-round, but limited to Friday through Sunday during the winter months.
Hurricane Ridge is named for its intense gales and winds. The weather in the Olympic Mountains is unpredictable, and visitors should be prepared for snow at any time of year.[tone]
The Olympic National Park began restricting access in the late 1990s, which was followed by a decline in visitor numbers. Park officials restricted winter access to Friday through Sunday in 2005. In 2011 and 2012, the park agreed to return to its original winter schedule for a trial period after the local community raised $75,000 to bridge the estimated budget gap. Despite a 35% visitor increase, Olympic National Park officials declared the trial unsuccessful and returned to three-day-a-week access during the winter months.
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- Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area
- National Park Service: Visiting Hurricane Ridge
- Hurricane Ridge info – outdoorplaces.com
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