Continuing our tour of the National Park sites in Washington, we headed to Olympic National Park. We stayed on Whidbey Island and took the Washington State Ferry from Coupeville to Port Townsend. Taking the ferry saved us five hours of driving around Puget Sound. We wanted to hike Hurricane Hill so we didn’t have time to drive the scenic route.
Our first stop was the main Visitors Center where three out of the four of us used the first purpose of a Visitors Center. The Visitors Center in Port Angeles is being renovated so we stopped by the temporary center in a trailer. Not very interesting.
The drive up Hurricane Ridge, however, was beautiful with lots of pull-offs so we could admire the view. Hurricane Ridge is the most visited place in Olympic National Park. It has a big Visitors Center on top of the Ridge which allows panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. We watched the movie (boring) and got our books stamped.
But we didn’t drive up the Ridge to stand in the Visitors Center. We hiked up and up and up to the top of Hurricane Hill, the highest pint in that part of the park. It was a challenging hike with 700 foot elevation gain. That doesn’t sound like much, but we started out around 6,000 feet so we were huffing and puffing as we climbed. I kept calling picture breaks – my best strategy for catching my breath on an uphill climb.
The view from the top of Hurricane Hill took my breath away (what little breath I had left). We could see Port Angeles, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Victoria, and San Juan Island. When we looked around we could also see most of the mountains in Olympic National Park. We also saw some wildlife: mountain chipmunks, deer, grouse, and eagles. Beautiful!
The hike down Hurricane Hill was much easier than the climb up. Gravity had something to do with that, I’m sure. We were sweaty and tired but felt like we earned the view.