Olympic National Park Announces New Requirements for Winter Travel to Hurricane Ridge

Winter at Hurricane Ridge.

Winter at Hurricane Ridge. NPS photo.

A favorite destination in Olympic National Park for locals and tourists alike is Hurricane Ridge. A 17-mile drive up the Hurricane Ridge Road takes you from near sea level to an elevation of 5,242 feet. In the summer, this is a great spot for postcard-quality summer views, hikes, and picnics.

During the winter the area is popular with hardy snow lovers, and there's plenty of the white stuff to love. Nearby Mount Olympus receives most of its 200 inches of annual precipitation as snowfall, so the road to Hurricane Ridge is normally open only on weekends in the winter—and even on those days travel is "conditions permitting."

The park has just announced the Hurricane Ridge winter schedule for the 2008– 2009 winter season. Barring heavy snows or winter storms, the road is scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to dusk, Friday through Sunday, November 21, 2008, through March 29, 2009. The road will be closed Monday through Thursday during the winter season, except for Monday holidays and an extended period during the Christmas-New Year's holiday.

New this year is a requirement that all vehicles carry tire chains when traveling above the Heart O' the Hills entrance station on the Hurricane Ridge Road between November 21, 2008 and May 1, 2009. "Having a set of chains in every vehicle that travels to Hurricane Ridge will provide a greater margin of safety when sudden storms arrive or road conditions worsen during the day," said Park Superintendent Karen Gustin. "In fact, this requirement may give us greater flexibility in keeping the road open during times when conditions are marginal."

If you plan to drive this road during the upcoming winter season, be sure to read the details about chains and other safety requirements.

Recorded information about Hurricane Ridge Road and weather conditions is available 24 hours a day at (360) 565-3131 and you can check out current conditions on the park's webcam.