Few places in the world produce pure joy and happiness with just one glance, but Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge does that with ease. A mile above the Strait of Juan de Fuca and just a short 17 mile drive from the fantastic outdoor recreation town of Port Angeles, Washington, Hurricane Ridge is one of America’s most-underrated nature destinations. Open year round in the summer, the area is only accessible during the snowy months on the weekends, making a trip to the region a limited edition experience. Plan ahead, grab your snow gear and camera and hit up The Ridge this winter. This is a family-friendly adventure you don’t want to miss.
Hurricane Ridge is truly a playground of the gods, even more so in the winter. As the trees become weighed down with snow and transform into images from a Dr. Seuss book, the already intoxicatingly beautiful region becomes indescribably perfect. On sunny days, the Olympic Mountains shimmer and shine, showing off their glaciers and powdery peaks. A wintery wonderland, snowshoers and cross-country skiers have over 20 miles of trails to explore, each offering views more breathtaking every mile. High above the trails, daring backcountry skiers and snowboards weave through forests before bombing down bowls packed full of powdery goodness. Even those who would rather just sit back and enjoy the sweeping vistas from the comforts of a warm building are in luck, as the Hurricane Ridge visitor center lets you enjoy the panoramic wonderland without being in the elements. Those with kids can enjoy the small sledding area near the visitor center, or take a small walk toward Hurricane Hill to see the aforementioned Dr Seuss-eque trees.
Hurricane Ridge is a winter wonderland that is calling for you. Will you answer?
While snowshoers tend to reap the most benefit from Hurricane Ridge, the front and backcountry ski and snowboard opportunities are second to none. If you are looking for an insanely gorgeous day on the slopes, take a trip to Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge Ski Area. Unrivaled views, fresh lines, and all the powder you could ask for are just some of the things waiting for you. Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area is one of only three operating ski and snowboard areas in our National Parks. It has 10 trails, two rope tows, one lift, and views as far as the eye can see. While only officially sporting an elevation drop of 800 feet, there are a few backcountry areas where those looking for adventure can find waist deep powder and epic lines. Hurricane Ridge also has a terrain park with natural hits, jumps and rails, set against the glorious panorama of the Olympic Mountains.
Header image by the one, the only, Lee Jacobson of Washington Hikers and Climbers. Used with permission.