Hurricane Ridge#2 in Best Things To Do in Olympic National Park
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Hurricane Ridge is located 17 miles south of Port Angeles and is the most easily accessed mountain area within the park. In clear weather, it offers amazing views. In fact, many visitors can't seem to find enough adjectives to describe the scenery, but some include "amazing, spectacular, awesome" and "stunning." You can admire the scenery while hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding.
Hurricane Ridge offers a variety of hiking trails, from ridgetop traverses to steep paths that descend to subalpine lakes and valleys. Easy trails include the half-mile round-trip Big Meadow trail, which is paved and crosses open meadows with views of the Olympics. The mile-long roundtrip Cirque Rim is another paved trail and offers views of Port Angeles and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. More challenging trails include the Klahhane Ridge trail (3.8 miles each way) and the Hurricane Hill trail (1.6 miles each way), which is paved for the first quarter-mile, then climbs to a panoramic view of mountains and saltwater.
Many visitors begin at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, which offers brochures, maps, snacks and tips from rangers on what to do and see. There's also an orientation film and exhibits. It is open daily in the summer and on weekends and holidays the rest of the year. Ranger programs are offered late June to September, with snowshoe walks in winter. The gift shop also offers snowshoe and ski rentals.
Hurricane Ridge is accessed via Hurricane Ridge Road. The road is open daily in the summer. During the winter season, the road is scheduled to be open Friday through Sunday and holiday Mondays, depending on weather and road conditions. Weather permitting, the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club operates two rope tows and a Poma lift. All vehicles must carry tire chains during the winter season. For more information, visit the NPS website.
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#1 Hoh Rain Forest
With an annual rainfall ranging from 140 to 170 inches, the Hoh Rain Forest is a lush, green wonderland, with mosses and ferns covering every tree and surface. According to the NPS, it is one of the finest remaining examples of temperate rainforest in the United States and is one of the park's most popular spots to visit. One visitor described walking in the forest as a "Hansel and Gretel-type of feeling" while another likened it to a fairy tale enchanted forest.
Most travelers begin at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, which is staffed with rangers who can offer advice on what to see and do. The visitor center also houses exhibits and a bookstore. Two short nature trails loop through the forest near the center, the Hall of Mosses Trail (.8 miles) and the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles). If you're up to the challenge, there is also a 17-mile trail that leads to Glacier Meadows, on the shoulder of Mount Olympus, called the Hoh River Trail.
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