Olympic National Park is magical throughout the year, but especially in the winter. Visiting Hurricane Ridge in winter can be a unique and rewarding experience. The mountains are spectacular with their white blankets silhouetted against the sky. It’s a great time to immerse in the peacefulness of a snowy landscape and best of all, it’s the quiet season with fewer visitors.
Hurricane Ridge is a popular place for winter recreation at Olympic National Park and is close to Port Angeles and Sequim.
10 Tips for visiting Hurricane Ridge
To help prepare you for visiting Hurricane Ridge in winter, national park rangers have compiled a list of Top 10 Tips:
1. Carry tire chains or approved traction control devices and know how to use them. It’s the law!
2. Check the Hurricane Ridge in Winter Twitter account to see if the road to Hurricane Ridge is currently open.
3. Wear warm layers and bring along extra clothing and emergency supplies like food, water, and first aid gear. You may want something dry to change into after playing in the snow.
4. Go to https://go.nps.gov/HRwinter to see what services are open at Hurricane Ridge.
5. If you’re visiting Hurricane Ridge in winter, you may have to wait in your car at the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station if the parking lot is full. Bring a blanket to stay cozy and a book or podcast to pass the time.
6. Winter driving basics: Take it slow. Brake slowly, turn slowly, accelerate slowly, drive slowly.
7. Leave your dog at home. Pets aren’t allowed in buildings or on snow trails at Hurricane Ridge, and they’ll get cold waiting in your car.
8. Be on the lookout for cornices and other signs of avalanche danger. Learn more about traveling in snowy areas and avalanche safety at https://go.nps.gov/OlympicSnow
9. Don’t feed the Canada jays, even if they ask you to. Just don’t. Let them be wild.
10. Always have a backup plan! Olympic is a big and diverse park. If you don’t need to visit Hurricane Ridge, you can still enjoy rivers, forests, lakes, and the beautiful Pacific Coast!
Getting to Hurricane Ridge
There are two options to get to Hurricane Ridge in winter: one is to drive yourself and the second is to take the Hurricane Ridge Winter Shuttle, which departs from Port Angeles Wharf.
Weather permitting, Hurricane Ridge Road and all the facilities at the top are open Friday through Sunday through March 26, 2023. In addition, the road is scheduled to be open the holiday Mondays of January 16 and February 20.
Hurricane Ridge Road typically opens at 9 am, though times can vary. Depending on weather and road conditions, the road may be open as late as noon, or not open at all. The road closes to uphill traffic at 4 pm and all vehicles must exit the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station by 5 pm.
When visiting Hurricane Ridge in winter, all vehicles, including four-wheel drive, must carry tire chains or approved traction control devices when traveling above the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station.
Winter storms can close or delay opening of the Hurricane Ridge Road; high winds and blizzard conditions are not uncommon. Road and weather condition updates are available on the Road and Weather line at 360-565-3131. You can also follow @HRWinterAccess on Twitter.
Hurricane Ridge Road closes temporarily when the parking lot becomes completely full. Park staff urge visitors to park efficiently in order to maximize parking space.
Take the Hurricane Ridge Winter Shuttle
Service is available both Saturday and Sunday from January 7 – March 26, 2023. The Black Ball Transport four-wheel-drive shuttle bus will depart from Port Angeles Wharf at 8:30 am (load zone in front of Port Angeles Visitor Center) and return by 3:30 pm. Shuttle tickets start at $15 per passenger, plus a $15 ONP entrance fee for adult passengers (age 16 or older) without a National Parks Pass. This shuttle requires advanced online bookings. Black Ball Transport and Olympic Hiking Co. look forward to working with Olympic National Park to have priority access through the entrance fee station.
For more details and to book online, please visit: https://www.hikeolympic.com/hurricane-ridge-winter-shuttle
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
The restrooms and exhibit area will be open inside the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Be prepared to use your vehicle as a warming area in case the visitor center does not open due to weather or staffing issues. Pack extra food, water, dry clothing, and blankets and/or sleeping bags in your vehicle.
The visitor center will be open 10 am to 4 pm, Friday through Sunday, January 7 through March 26, 2023 and open holiday Mondays January 16 and February 20.
The concessioner-operated Mountain View Café, Gift Shop & Rental Shop on the lower level of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open and will have the same operating hours as the visitor center, described above. Food service will be take-out only.
Downhill Ski, Snowboard and Tubing Area
The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club operates the Downhill Ski, Snowboard, and Tubing Area. It offers two rope tows, a poma lift and tubing park. Weather and snow permitting, the Downhill Ski, Snowboard, and Tubing Area is open weekends, 10 am to 4 pm and open holiday Mondays January 16 and February 20.
More information about the Hurricane Ridge Downhill Ski, Snowboard, and Tubing Area for the 2022-2023 season is available at hurricaneridge.com.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Opportunities for cross-country skiers and snowshoers range from open, level meadows near the Visitor Center to extreme terrain in the wilderness backcountry. Anyone skiing or snowboarding beyond the immediate Hurricane Ridge area must sign in at the registration box in the foyer of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Be prepared for steep terrain and the possibility of avalanches.
Information about ski and snowshoe routes and trails is available at park visitor centers, the park website, or the park newspaper, The Bugler.
Snowshoe with a Ranger
Ranger-led snowshoe walks begin at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center on Saturdays from January 7 to March 25 at 1:30 pm. This program is free but walks are limited to 20 participants. Walks may be canceled at any time due to weather, operational priorities, and/or safety concerns. Walks last 1.5 hours and cover less than a mile. Sign up starts at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center at 1 pm. Snowshoes and instructions are provided. Participants should prepare for cold, snow, wind, or even rain. Dress in layers, wear warm, waterproof boots and bring hats, mittens, sunscreen and glasses. Call 360-565-3131 for updates.
Hurricane Ridge Webcam
Hurricane Ridge webcams are available on the park website. The webcam image updates every 15 minutes (although severe weather can obstruct the webcam views).
Olympic National Park Visitor Center
The Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles is currently open daily from 9 am to 4 pm. Restrooms are open daily and are located outside the main building.
Deer Park Road, Obstruction Point Road, and Hurricane Hill Road are closed for the winter season. Sol Duc Road typically closes for the winter due to snow and icy road conditions. Other park roads may close with short notice due to road and weather conditions. Call the Road & Weather line at 360-565-3131 to check current road and campground status information.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Olympic Peninsula’s winter wonderland in Olympic National Park. For more information about visiting the park this winter, please go to https://go.nps.gov/OlympicWinter22-23.