While in Olympic National Park our team decided to head to Hurricane Ridge for some hiking. Hurricane Ridge is about 17 miles from Port Angeles and is a quick and beautiful car ride. Hurricane Ridge has a visitor center with exhibits and films. There are also a few short meadow trails around the visitor center that are only .25-.5 miles. We decided to hike the Hurricane Hill Trail which is about 1.6 miles one-way and 700 feet elevation gain. If you’re anything like me, you have no concept of elevation gain and have no idea what 700 feet looks like. To clarify, 700 feet in 1.6 miles is moderately difficult. (But I am pretty out of shape so you can make your own assumptions).
We embarked on our Hurricane Hill journey at around three in the afternoon, when the sun was high in the sky and beating down on us. Immediately I realized there was something incredible about this hike. As I huffed and puffed my way up the trail, I was astonished to see the gorgeous view of the interior Olympic Mountains. That’s part of the magic of this trail. Despite the heat on your back, the lack of breath in your lungs, the buzzing of flies in your ears, the ripe smell of sweaty hikers and the mild ache in your legs, you are encompassed by breathtaking views of the mountains and wildflowers that make you momentarily forget your troubles. That being said, I have to mention again the lack of physical fitness in my life. Other members of the team had little to no difficulty with this trail and were simply able to enjoy the splendor that surrounded them.
Once you reach the top of the hill and catch your breath, you will instantly be rewarded with more spectacular views. From one side of the hill you can see all the way to Port Angeles! While on top of the hill, we ran into a mountain goat. Mountain goats are far more aggressive than many would presume and should be treated with caution. The standard procedure for dealing with mountain goats is to either hope that they ignore you, or make really loud noises to scare them off.
Claire’s Pro Tip: For those who need to scare away a mountain goat, I would recommend scream singing “Escape (the Pina Colada song)”. Any sane mountain goat (or human for that matter) will most likely avoid someone yelling “IF YOU LIKE PINA COLADAS AND GETTING CAUGHT IN THE RAIN!!!”
This time of year, mid august, is a great time to see wildlife on the hike. We saw plenty other wildlife while on the hike. We spotted several marmots throughout the day and promptly named one of them Marmalade. We also stumbled across a deer with two fawns in the parking lot at the trailhead. We actually managed to see a lot of deer and fawns throughout the entire Olympic trip.
The walk down the hill is quite enjoyable. It is almost completely downhill so you don’t have to worry about anything. It was nice to stroll care-free in such a stunning location. There and back again the trail is about 3.2 miles. To summarize, the hike there is tough, but the walk back is very easy. I would recommend bringing a decent amount of water on this hike. We had all individually finished an entire water bottle on the way up the hill, so we were had to go without on the way down. This trail is open summer and winter, but during the winter the trail is snow covered and I only recommend it for experienced snowshoers.
– Claire Parchem, SCA intern