Olympic National Park Snowshoe Tours at Hurricane Ridge on the Olympic Peninsula
Enjoy a Hurricane Ridge snowshoe tour that can be organized as a moderate hike of about 2 miles (3.2 km) roundtrip, or a more vigorous hike of up to 5 miles (8 km) roundtrip. Olympic National Park snowshoe tours offered by ExperienceOlympic include transportation to and from Hurricane Ridge, snowshoes, ski poles, gaiters, gloves, hats, extra top layers, and a hot beverage. Due to short days and hours at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, tours start at 8 AM and end at 4 PM - this equates to up to four hours on trail.
Why Tour Hurricane Ridge on Snowshoes with Experience Olympic
Although you can cross country ski, downhill ski, sled, and snowboard, Hurricane Ridge is much more exciting as a snowshoeing and backcountry skiing destination. The solitude and lack of motorized vehicles (no snowmobiles for example) allows for an excellent winter soundscape. Olympic National Park requires all vehicles to carry tire chains, which rental car companies often don’t provide and may not allow. Vehicles without chains (even those with 4-wheel drive) often slide off the road, so make sure you don't just carry chains but you also know how to use them. Take the worry out of your winter travels and hire Experience Olympic for your Olympic National Park Snowshoe Tour!
Wilderness Ethic at Olympic National Park's Hurricane Ridge
The humble little visitor center and ski trailer at Olympic National Park's Hurricane Ridge bears little resemblance to the large commercial ski resorts in the Cascades and Canadian Rockies. Only minimal modification to the natural environment has occurred at Hurricane Ridge due to the wilderness designation of Olympic National Park. If you are attracted to a wilderness landscape, Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park offers the snow clad mountains of your dreams that have been compared to the European Alps.
Olympic National Park Snowshoe hares and snowshoeing humans
Olympic Peninsula Snowshoe Hares brave winter on the top of the snow at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Most of the time, their tracks are the only evidence of their existence. If you are lucky enough to observe a Snowshoe Hare in the winter, you might be surprised to see a brown animal as their fur never turns white. Finding tracks is part of the joy of Hurricane Ridge snowshoe explorations.
Let's hope for a good snowpack in the Olympic Mountains and specifically at Hurricane Ridge!
Snow on Hurricane Ridge can last into July but usually there is only sufficient and continuous snow for Olympic National Park snowshoeing through March or April. A good way to check the current Hurricane Ridge snow levels is to look at the Hurricane Ridge webcam. Slow melting snow in Olympic National Park enables a diversity of subalpine plants and animals to survive during dry summer conditions.
Advantanges to Winter Travel and Olympic National Park Snowshoeing
Port Angles experiences a plethora of summer visitors so those who visit from December to March will find lower lodging rates and fewer requirements for advanced planning (allowing you to make snap decisions based on the weather). The exception is during the week around Christmas and New Years when the Hurricane Ridge road is scheduled to be open daily and visitors abound.
Hurricane Ridge Winter Access from December to March, Friday - Sunday
From roughly December to March, the Hurricane Ridge road is usually only open Friday to Sunday, holiday Mondays, and a week around Christmas (but not on Christmas Day). However, the Hurricane Ridge road can close with little to no advance notice due to the weather, unsafe road conditions, equipment issues, or staffing shortages. Winter access to Hurricane Ridge allows for Experience Olympic’s 3 Parks Tour of the Olympic Mountains, Olympic Forest, and Salish Sea during most months of the year. The exception to year-round access is when April or November have snow.
Olympic Peninsula Weather and Plan B Options
Be prepared for a Plan B Olympic National Park hiking alternative (bring hiking boots) that will hopefully still allow for snow access with multiple hikes beginning at approximately 2000 feet (610 meters). For longer distance hikes on snow or ice, Experience Olympic offers use of traction devices which function like tire chains and assit your shoes ability to grip slippery terrain. If you are not interested in hiking, we can alternatively visit 2-3 waterfalls including the popular Marymere Falls on Lake Crecent.
Olympic National Park's short snowshoe walk
Alternatively, Olympic National Park may offer snowshoe walks lasting 1.5 hours on relatively flat terrain that can accommodate up to 25 people. Check the timing and date range on these walks as this is totally separate from a Hurricane Ridge snowshoe tour with Experience Olympic. No matter which guided Hurricane Ridge snowshoe tour option you decide to enjoy, do consider visiting Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge this winter. If you do not get an early start, be prepared for possible long lines at the Heart of the Hills fee booth and limited parking in the Hurricane Ridge parking lot. Try to get an early start, especially on holiday weekends!