Hike Hurricane Ridge at Sunrise or Sunset in Olympic National Park

A golden Olympic Marmot looks out among the grass with the colors of the sunset reflected in the snowclad Olympic mountains

Take it easy as your Hurricane Ridge hiking guide introduces you to summer prime time

Hiking description for twlight at Hurricane Ridge

Have you ever hiked on an island in the sky?  This special Olympic National Park experience will enable you to fully experience dawn or dusk near the 48th parallel by taking in sunrise as early as 5:00 AM or sunset at late as 9:00 PM.  These local tours are appropriate for all ages and abilities and take place during the summer. 

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A family that includes three generations pose for a photo with a view from Hurricane Ridge

A twilight hike is all right!

For maximum wildlife viewing, including access to multiple Olympic Marmot colonies, we usually recommend taking the full day 3 mile (5 km) roundtrip walk or hike.  Twilight and the comparative ease of the return journey, makes it easy to enjoy sunset at our destination and still have time to return before headlamps are needed.  There is also a nice viewpoint with less than a 1 mile (2 km) roundtrip walk with possible Olympic Marmot sightings.

Twilight is a great time to be on a Hurricane Ridge hike

Hurricane Ridge can become a bit crowded during a fine summer day, which does not impact the beautiful scenery and wildflowers but could impact your wilderness experience and wildlife sightings.  If you do not want to wake up to enjoy an exremely early sunrise, hiking at sunset on Hurricane Ridge is a good option for those who want to see Hurricane Ridge at a magic twilight time away from crowds.  If you are an early riser, dawn is excellent because few to no park visitors wake up early enough to enjoy sunrise!  One Hurricane Ridge hike that started at 6 AM from Port Angeles in August started out with a pair of Pygmy Owls perched at the trailhead!

Closeup of a backlit Columbian Black-tailed Deer bending down to groom her leg

The small Northern Pygmy Owl is not that much bigger than the subalpine fir cone it is perched on

When wildlife comes out at Hurricane Ridge

In addition to Olympic Marmots, we can also view Olympic Chipmunk, Black-tailed Deer, Snowshoe Hare, Mountain Goat, Sooty Grouse, American Pipit, and Horned Lark.  Olympic Marmots take full advantage of long days when there is ample food for them in the form of leafy green plants.  They start feeding the moment the snow melts and the plants start to grow.  A low snowpack and dry hot spring/summer can lead to some variable wildlife viewing conditions in late summer or early fall so we might have to employ some flexibility if viewing wildlife is your primary interest at Hurricane Ridge.

Clear view of the San Juan and Gulf Islands in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as well as Vancouver Island during sunset

A smiling hiker sits enjoying the sunset over the Strait of Juan de Fuca and some of the Olympic foothills

View the stars after sunset Hurricane Ridge hikes

An added bonus of a Hurricane Ridge hike at sunset is that you might luck out and choose an evening with a park-sponsored astronomy program that historically has occurred in the Hurricane Ridge parking lot.  A little advanced planning will allow us to stay to view some nebula, star clusters, and constellations after hiking.  Many visitors live in cities where light pollution prevents good viewing of astronomical features.  However, Hurricane Ridge remains an excellent wilderness retreat and sanctuary for mountain vistas, wildlife, wildflowers, butterflies, and stars. 

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Silhouettes of two trees and two male Columbian Black-tailed deer, one is looking up and the other is actively grazing in a meadow