Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hurricane Hill, Olympic National Park

At the end of Hurricane Ridge, a very worthwhile destination in its own right, lies a sweet former lookout known as Hurricane Hill. While you will be hard pressed to view Mount Olympus from here, the Bailey Range that the Greek goddess is hiding behind is impressive. Add to that views of Port Angeles, the Straight of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island, and you will feel like you won the lotto!

Until the 1950's, a road actually existed all the way to it's summit, where a lookout cabin was perched. Both are gone now, though the base of the cabin still exists. It's not hard to understand why someone would want to spend extended time in such a beautiful place.

Today Hurricane Hill is reached by a short trail - 1.4 miles long to be exact. Since it starts high, the entire distance has supreme views as it traverses through meadows. Wildlife is plentiful as well; we saw three bears, several marmots and many dear while enjoying our hike last weekend. When I returned in the evening for photography, I was greeted by a mother grouse and her chicks. Well, greeted might not be the right term. I don't think they were happy that I was sitting and laying on their section of the trail for these shots!

The Hurricane Hill trail is totally melted out right now, and flowers are out in force. They were a little early during our visit, but I suspect that they will peak in the coming week - possibly this weekend?

This visit was considerably different than my first visit to the area on a winter overnight snowshoe several years ago!

If you are looking for a place to take the family, including young ones, this is a great choice. Hurricane Ridge is just a short drive up from the town of Port Angeles. For nearby camping, consider Heart of the Hills campground just inside the park entrance, a personal favorite of mine.

Of course, Hurricane Ridge alone is worth a visit,
with its expansive views into the interior of the range and...oh, I guess I already covered that. I hope you find time to visit this wonderful gem!

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