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Hurricane hill hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to Mount Olympus from Hurricane Hill (bobcat)
Silky phacelia (Phacelia sericea), Hurricane Hill (bobcat)
Hiking down Hurricane Hill (bobcat)
Olympic marmot (Marmota olympus), Hurricane Hill (bobcat)
Trail to the top of Hurricane Hill (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Hurricane Hill TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Hurricane Hill
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 3.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1100 feet
  • High Point: 5,757 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer to beginning of Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

This short alpine hike offers expansive vistas of the Olympics, as well as wildlife and wildflowers, and provides an excellent family outing away from the much larger crowds at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center down the road. The wide paved trail with interpretive signs leads to a summit above lush meadows, tarns, and permanent snowbanks. Even for jaded alpine hikers the vistas are superb on a fine day. Try to get here early in the day to avoid the crowds and have the opportunity to see more wildlife.

From the parking area, take the paved Hurricane Hill Trail along the ridge in an alpine parkland. There are expansive views west over the Elwha River valley to Mount Appleton and Boulder Peak, with a copse of alpine conifers, primarily subalpine fir and mountain hemlock, on your right. Reach the Hurricane Hill-Little River Trail Junction at a saddle. From here, look down the South Branch Little River valley with rugged Mount Angeles rising to its east. You can also see back to the continuation of Hurricane Ridge capped by Obstruction Peak and Elk Mountain. Wildflowers bloom all along the trail. The best month is July, when you can look for cinquefoil, penstemon, arnica, paintbrush, tiger lily, bluebell, lupine, bistort, and the endemic Olympic Mountain aster. Butterflies, including fritillaries, checkerspots, and blues, flutter about in accompaniment. The trail continues along the ridge line, entering a patch of forest and passing along the west side of a knoll. Then enter an expanse of stunning alpine meadow, where you may see Olympic marmots, black-tailed deer, and sooty grouse; you may also be lucky enough to encounter mountain goats up here. The views open up as you rise and make four switchbacks above a small tarn. Reach the Hurricane Hill-Hurricane Hill Spur Trail Junction and proceed right for the final 1/10 of a mile to the summit of Hurricane Hill.

You can explore the summit ridge a little, but be prepared for begging chipmunks. There's a large snow bank on the north side of the ridge and an alpine tarn to the southeast, with Mount Angeles looming behind. Looking north, the two closest peaks are Griff Peak and Unicorn Peak and from these the views extend across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island. See if you can pick out Mount Baker and Mount Garibaldi, the two northernmost high peaks in the Cascades. Mount Rainier can be seen to the east. To the southwest is glaciated Mount Carrie in the Bailey Range and then beyond Carrie the Hoh and Blue Glaciers glint on the northeast slopes of Mount Olympus.

If you wish to spend more time hiking, the Hurricane Hill trail continues from the Hurricane Hill-Hurricane Hill Spur Trail Junction to descend along the northwest ridge above more alpine meadows. Hurricane Hill is generally accessible in winter for snowshoeing from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Note that it is the winter weather that gives the hill its name, so you should always check ahead for conditions.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • No pets.
  • $25 entrance fee (7-day pass) to enter the national park; various other passes also available
  • Restrooms, picnic area, interpretive signs

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Pacific Northwest National Parks & Monuments: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Day Hike! Olympic Peninsula by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Washington: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula by Craig Romano
  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Olympic National Park by Erik Molvar
  • Hiking Olympic National Park by Erik Molvar
  • Best Short Hikes in Washington's South Cascades & Olympics by E.M. Sterling & Ira Spring
  • Olympic Mountains Trail Guide by Robert L. Wood
  • Top Trails: Olympic National Park & Vicinity by Douglas Lorain
  • Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades by Joan Burton
  • The Best of Olympic National Park by Alan Leftridge
  • Lookouts: Firewatchers of the Cascades and Olympics by Ira Spring & Byron Fish
  • Washington Hiking by Scott Leonard
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.