Trail Conditions

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Trail Conditions

We got lucky with access, permits, and weather on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park (ONP)! Our main objectives were hiking into the alpine, practicing wilderness navigation, surveying future trips, and viewing the abundant ONP wildlife.

Weather: Day 1, overcast, cool, and windy on the ridge tops. Short burst of heavy rain overnight. Day 2, started with broken skies and cool temperatures, then clearing and warming in the afternoon, generally calm. Day 3, started clear and cool, no wind, and then got very hot with a few clouds in the afternoon. High temperature 77ºF. Low temperature 39ºF. Winds calm to moderate West to North with diurnal slope winds. Pressure 1015 hPa rising to 1021 hPa.

Route: Day 1-3, Started and finished at Obstruction Point Trailhead, 6100 ft GR 714073. Specific route details omitted for exploration incentive. (WGS84)

Wildlife: Dozens of furry Olympic marmots, several herds of salt-hunting mule deer, lots of thrushes and hummingbirds, and one very stealth bobcat! This was a highlight wildlife sighting for our party. We knew a predator was near when the entire colony of Olympic marmots beside our camp went into full on sirens. The bobcat was positively identified by its stubby tail and definitive stripped markings on legs.

Hazards: Still lots of snow in the alpine. We encountered rotten snow bridges over creeks, slippery slopes above short sections of mildly exposed terrain, and intense ultraviolet light when the skies cleared.

Notes: Sometimes we get really lucky with the weather in ONP! We had another totally different trip planned for this visit. Then news broke that Obstruction Point Road was opening early (Jun 12). Snow was melting off Hurricane Ridge in record time. We discussed route conditions with rangers at the Wilderness Information Centre (WIC) in Port Angeles, and were pleased to acquire a First Come First Served (FCFS) quota campsite for two nights.

Wilderness Camping Permits are required for all overnight stays in the ONP wilderness (backcountry) year-round. Obtain permits at the WIC in Port Angeles. We stayed in a quota area where 50% are reservable and 50% are available FCFS up to 24 hours in advance of your start date.

We staged our trip from Heart O Hills Campground just past the ONP gate. Sailing 1.5 hours aboard the Coho ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, on a Thursday afternoon to beat the weekend crowds, then a 15 min drive to camp.

This was a lucky and opportunistically timed trip into one of ONP’s most coveted zones!

Mike Blake

On The Map

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.