Olympic Peninsula News Group
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The road to Hurricane Ridge is set to be open throughout winter break, weather permitting.
Winter season operations for Hurricane Ridge began Nov. 27. The ridge road will be closed Friday, Christmas Day, but it will be open the day after, Saturday, and continue open through Jan. 3.
In addition, the road will be open weekends and holiday Mondays on Jan. 18 and Feb. 15.
On Saturday, 39 inches of snow were recorded at the snow sensor at the ridge.
The ridge is open for skiing, snowboarding, tubing and other winter sports.
The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will remain closed through the winter season as part of COVID-19 precautions.
The park follows guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Staff are scheduled to be available at an information window from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but the exhibit space, tables, and warming area are closed.
Visitors are asked to be prepared to use their vehicles as warming areas and to pack extra food, water, dry clothing and blankets and/or sleeping bags.
Restroom facilities will be open.
Although only 17 miles from Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge at 5,242-foot elevation is subject to extreme winter conditions including sudden storms, white-outs, and avalanches.
Weather conditions can change quickly and with little warning, the park said. Winter storms can close or delay opening of the Hurricane Ridge Road; high winds and blizzard conditions are not uncommon.
All vehicles, including four-wheel drive, are required to carry tire chains when traveling above the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station during the winter season.
Hurricane Ridge Road typically opens at 9 a.m. though times can vary according to road and weather conditions.
The road closes to uphill traffic at 4 p.m. and all vehicles must exit the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station by 5 p.m.
The Hurricane Ridge Road closes temporarily when the parking lot becomes completely full. Park staff urge Hurricane Ridge visitors to park efficiently to maximize parking space.
The concession-operated Hurricane Ridge Mountain View Café, gift shop and rental shop are not open this winter season.
Food service and gear rentals are not available at Hurricane Ridge.
Weather and snow permitting, the Hurricane Ridge Ski, Snowboard and Tubing Area is scheduled to operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the ridge road is open.
Opportunities for cross-country skiers and snowshoers range from open, level meadows near the visitor center to extreme terrain in the wilderness backcountry.
Anyone skiing or snowshoeing beyond the immediate Hurricane Ridge area is asked to sign-in at the registration box in the foyer of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and be prepared for steep terrain and the possibility of avalanches.
Information about ski and snowshoe routes and trails is available at park visitor centers or the park newspaper, the Bugler.
Up-to-date information about weather and avalanche risk is available from the Northwest Avalanche Center online at nwac.us. Anyone planning to venture beyond the maintained downhill ski area, or the immediate Hurricane Ridge area, should always check the Northwest Avalanche Center website and the current conditions posted at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, park officials said.
Road and weather condition updates are available on the Road and Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131 or by following @HRWinter Access on Twitter.
For more information about the ridge, see hurricaneridge.com.
For more about the park, see https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm.