Visiting Olympic In Winter
Located on Washington state’s peninsula just a 3-hour drive from Seattle, Olympic National Park in winter offers storm-swept beaches, deep mountain snows, and precious solitude.
Storm-watching is a spectator sport along the park’s cobble-strewn coast, as churning waves explode as they crash into the towering sea stacks, slowly eroding sentinels hewn from the mainland by thousands of previous storms. Not surprisingly, the Kalaloch Lodge offers a “Storm Thriller” package Sunday through Thursday that lands you in a log cabin – complete with woodstove, kitchenette, two queen-size beds and hiking staff -- on a bluff overlooking the Pacific for $119 a night between January 2nd and February 22nd.
Further inland, Hurricane Ridge often is buried in snow from those same storms. The average annual snowfall of 400 inches is enough to keep the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area open on weekends from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with three surface lifts and 800 vertical feet of skiing spread across 10 trails. For more adventuresome skiers and ‘boarders, additional bowls and gladed areas are nearby.
Hurricane Ridge, which offers panoramic views not only of the snow-clad Olympic Range but also of the Strait of Juan de Fuca that leads ships to Seattle from the Pacific, also claims cross-country ski and snowshoe trails and a tubing area.