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Hurricane Hill Road Closures

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Columbia, Maryland
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Hurricane Hill Road Closures

Leaving in 2 days for our trip through OR/WA and checked the NPS website one last time. It now has Hurricane Hill Road listed as closed M-F this week and next. Does this mean we won't be able to get up to Hurricane Ridge to hike next week (please say no)? We're only in the area on weekdays. What mountain hikes can we get to instead (we already have the beaches and the Hoh planned on other days)?

Thanks!

Port Angeles, WA
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1. Re: Hurricane Hill Road Closures

This is bad news, but all is not lost. You will still be able to drive the Hurricane Ridge Road to the summit of HR. However, you will not be able to get to the Hurricane Hill Trail. You have other choices, fortunately.

If you are strong hikers who can handle a very steep and tiring 600 foot ascent followed by an easier 800 foot climb to the top, do The Switchback to Klahane Ridge. The trail head is about 10 minutes below the Hurricane Ridge parking lot. This is a very beautiful trail with magnificent views and wildflowers, but that first 600 feet is exhausting. At the junction with the Hurricane Ridge trail there is a sign. Keep going up; the trail gets much easier at this point. Once you reach the top you are on a long ridge that you can follow as long as you like. I always encourage people to continue about 15 minutes past the clump of trees that form a sort of gateway (go right as you are facing the Straits of San Juan de Fuca) because there are a series of "outdoor rooms" that are filled with some of the best wildflowers in the park. As always when you are hiking in the mountains, make sure you have water. Hiking poles really help on this trail, too. If you see goats, stay away from them.

Another choice would be one of the Obstruction Point Rd. trails. My favorite is the Lillian Ridge Trail at the end of Obstruction Point Rd. This trail is simply an amazing, with wildflowers, snow fields, and tiny, shimmering mountain tarns filled with snow melt. Obstruction Point Rd. is unpaved and can be scary, but as long as you drive slowly and use the pullouts, it is quite safe. The mountain views from the road are unforgettable.

Finally, in the Hurricane Ridge area there is the longish hike to Lake Angeles. This is a steady 2400 foot ascent through a shady second growth forest. Most of the hike is pretty but not particularly special. Then you come to the top, continue along the trail for about 5 minutes and are absolutely stupified by the sight of a magnificent alpine lake surrounded by soaring cliffs and distant waterfalls. This hike usually takes around 4 hours round trip. The trail head is right before the Hurricane Ridge entry station just outside Port Angeles.

If none of these suits you, there is the hike to Deer Lake above Sol Duc Falls. That's a 1600 ft. ascent. The lake is gorgeous, but not as amazing as Lake Angeles. However, if you continue another 600 feet above Deer Lake along a beautiful trail that takes you past other, smaller lakes, you reach The Potholes. This is a huge alpine meadow filled with glacial ponds and surrounded by mountains. It is breathtaking. The round trip to The Potholes is about 6 hours, counting a picnic lunch break.

Finally, there are the Deer Park Road trails. Some of these are stunning, but, unfortunately, they are all upside down hikes where you first descend and then must climb back up on the return. I hate these, frankly, as every step you take is a reminder that the hard work remains ahead of you. For this reason, as well as because Deer Park Rd. is, in some ways, even scarier that Obstruction Point Rd., I seldom recommend these hikes. They might be just the thing for you, however.

Columbia, Maryland
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2. Re: Hurricane Hill Road Closures

Whew - thanks, kaleberg! Glad to hear all is not lost. As always, your expertise is much appreciated. Lillian Ridge or Lake Angeles will be excellent back-ups if the family votes me down on Klahane Ridge. OK, now I can get back to my pre-vacation giddiness.

3. Re: Hurricane Hill Road Closures

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