View 412: Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

After a 17 mile (29 km) ascent up the Hurricane Ridge Road, you come about a tight right hand curve and arrive at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Until the curve, the splendor and majesty of the Olympic Mountains is hidden from view. The very popular area has a two story visitor center with a large parking lot which can accommodate cars, trucks, motor homes and even tour buses.

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and Trails

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and trails in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 1600, EV 0, 46mm Focal Length.

Though the drive up can be a bit harrowing if one is afraid of roads along a mountain ridge with no guardrails.

Hurricane Ridge Road

Hurricane Ridge Road from High Ridge Trail on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 640, EV 0, 120mm Focal Length.

Considering how hard it can be to find a parking space during the busy summer months, most people find a way. Once parked, you can find out all about Hurricane Ridge inside the visitor center.

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

Interior of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington.

When you enter the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center from the parking lot, you are on the upper floor with a National Park Service information counter where a Ranger or volunteer can answer questions and supply maps of the subalpine environment of the ridge. Behind the counter are interpretive displays on Olympic National Park history, floral and fauna, a short documentary plays at a touch of a button and chairs and benches surround a wood stove used during the winter months. Downstairs is the gift shop full of all kinds of apparel and souvenirs and a snack bar.

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/50s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

From the snack bar, you can go outside to the patio with picnic tables, benches and this view…

Olympic Mountain Range

Olympic Mountains from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center overlook in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Skylum Aurora 2019.

The patio is the perfect place for people to take photos of themselves and their family and friends traveling with them.

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center Overlook

Tourists enjoying the view from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center overlook in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 125, EV 0, 21mm Focal Length.

There are paved trails fully handicap accessible where people can explore the subalpine life of Hurricane Ridge. The Cirque Rim Trail is on the north side with views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Port Angeles.

Cirque Rim Trail Overlook

People at the overlook on the Cirque Rim Trail on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 560, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

The Big Meadow Loop Trail meanders through a Subalpine Fir forest and, though the trees are only a feet tall, they are nearly a hundred years old due to the harsh environment and short growing seasons. The trees grow under the winter snow cover which create skirts seen in the photo below.

Subalpine Fir Trees

Subalpine Fir trees along the Big Meadow Loop trail near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 220, EV 0, 34mm Focal Length.

I got down low and used my camera’s flip out viewfinder to photograph these Pearly Everlasting (Anaphlis margaritacea) wildflowers.  June is the better time for wildflowers but, as the name suggests, Pearly Everlastings bloom throughout the growing season.

Pearly Everlasting Wildflowers

Pearly Everlasting (Anaphlis margaritacea) wildflowers in an alpine meadow on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/80s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 34mm Focal Length, Skylum Intensify CK.

While 95% of Olympic National Park can only be explored by wilderness hiking, the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is a wonderful day trip to explore a part of this wilderness most people would never be able to enjoy.

 

 

This entry was posted in Nature, Travel, Weekly View and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s