Hurricane Ridge is a mountainous area in Washington’s Olympic National Park. It can be accessed by road from Port Angeles and is open to hiking, skiing, and snowboarding.
At an elevation of about 5,200 feet (1,585 m), Hurricane Ridge is a year-round destination. In summer, visitors come for views of the Olympic Mountains, as well as for superb hiking. During the winter months the small, family oriented Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area offers lift-serviced downhill skiing and snowboarding.
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.
The Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area is located in the higher elevations of Olympic National Park. Nearly a mile high (~1,600 m), the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center offers spectacular winter recreation and activities on the north Olympic Peninsula, and features winter vistas unmatched anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
A view from Hurricane Ridge in the fall taken near the visitor center.
The day facility built atop ONP’s Hurricane Ridge consists of a small, family oriented ski area for both downhill and cross-country skiers. The area is equipped with tow rope tows and one poma lift—offering to Olympic Peninsula residents and visitors a quality winter sports experience without the cost and crowds of larger commercial ski areas. The Ridge boasts some groomed area—and for the accomplished skier or snowboarder the steeps, bowls and glades are well worth the hikes to get there. With a summit elevation of 5,240 feet (1,600 m), there is generally an annual snowfall of 400-plus inches (10+ m).
A view of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center taken from the Intermediate Ski Slope and Rope Tow Area in the summertime. The Poma Lift drops down directly into the basin hidden in the right of the photograph, while the Beginner’s (or “Bunny Slope”) Rope Tow is set up on the gentler slopes near the road and parking lot. All lifts are taken down by the Park in the summer for aesthetic purposes.
Unmatched vistas are available for cross-country skiers who can pursue the old lookout landmark on the summit of Hurricane Hill while accessing direct views of the backside of Mt. Carrie and (on a clear day) partial views of the summit of Mount Olympus. A longer, and possibly more satisfying trip for the serious winter traveler, can be accessed in the opposite direction by following the 12 miles (19 km) of snow covered high mountain road to Obstruction Point. Passing the legendary Steeple Rock summit, overnight skiers (and/or snowshoers) have the option of staying in the A-frame (aka “Waterhole”) located 4 to 5 miles (6 to 8 km) down the road—complete with wood stove and split wood on a first-come-first-served basis.
The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club was formed as a non-profit corporation in 1986 for the purpose of promoting and providing organized leadership for winter sports activities at Hurricane Ridge. The HRWSC operates the ski lifts under permit with Olympic National Park, and strives to be a good steward of the environment while promoting healthy outdoor activities for the youth, community and visitors of the Olympic Peninsula.
From Seattle or Olympia, follow Highway 101 into Port Angeles, turning south onto Race Street, watch for the sign, and make a slight right onto the Hurricane Ridge Parkway. The National Park charges an entrance fee, $15 per car, or purchase a yearly pass for $30. The road generally opens to uphill traffic at 9am and closes to uphill traffic at 4pm. For further details, contact the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles.