Riding the Hurricane to Obstruction Point
A HC climb to the Hurricane Ridge Visitors center, then a punchy gravel classic
By the Numbers
An HC climb to Obstruction Point Road, then punchy gravel, followed by a long descent (39 road miles, 16 gravel)
This year’s edition of Ride the Hurricane had two great changes from last year:
- starting at sea level (official)
- extending the ride to Obstruction Point Road (unofficial)
I’ve driven Obstruction Point Road before but had never ridden it so when the ride was announced I was excited to extend the ride with a great gravel addition. PJAMM ranks the climb #2 on their list of the Top 10 Most Scenic rides in the US but they didn’t continue to Obstruction Point Road.
The ride began this year at the water, a great change making it a true sea-to-sky climb. The first 20 miles climbs over 5000 feet, and while it’s never that steep the constant 5% grade is taxing.
While I was climbing well I was beginning to tire. Looking up I could see I still had some ways to ride.
Finally, to the Visitors Center and a brief break before heading out to Obstruction Point. When traveling by car I vividly remember the moment of leaving the pavement and hitting the dirt because the drop is so steep you cannot see the road clearly – it’s sort of a drive of faith for a few seconds making it, by one account, the scariest road in Washington.
On bike, it was pure joy. You can easily see your surroundings and the one-lane dirt road, blissfully free of cars for the morning, is all yours.
The punchy, steep gravel climbs followed by fast descents on a twisty road make for great riding. Following the always-up climb from Port Angeles to the summit at Hurricane Ridge, the punchy nature of the gravel was refreshing, and no doubt the views helped too.
Finally you arrive at Obstruction Point, and unfortunately, it’s the end of the road. Deer Park is only a short trail away but bikes are not allowed on trails in the ONP so it’s turn around time on this out-and-back. Apparently there had been plans to connect Deer Park and Obstruction Point by road but it never materialized.
On the way back we saw our first cars of the day as the road opened at noon and they were just arriving at the summit and turning onto Obstruction Point Road. It really highlighted how wonderful it was to have the roads to ourselves for the morning as when the cars arrived it meant having to negotiate right-of-ways and deal with the dust they kicked up.
The ride back on the gravel was every bit as challenging at the ride out. The last climb back to the paved road was the steepest of the bunch and by that time I was quite tired and looking forward to the 20 mile descent back to PA and the truck.