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Outdoor adventures, mostly gravel rides, but not always

Riding the Hurricane to Obstruction Point

A HC climb to the Hurricane Ridge Visitors center, then a punchy gravel classic.

By the Numbers

Sport
Cycling
Shape
Out-and-Back
Profile
Pyramid | Punchy
An HC climb to Obstruction Point Road, then punchy gravel, followed by a long descent
Distance
55 miles (39 road, 16 gravel)
Elevation
8000 feet
Time
4h+
Nutrition
Food available during the event up to the visitors center, after that you’re on your own
External
Strava | Ride with GPS

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 climbing begins -- no cars!
The climbing begins – no cars!

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.

Still a ways to go to the summit
Still a ways to go to the summit

While I was climbing well I was beginning to tire. Looking up I could see I still had some ways to ride.

Does it get better?
Does it get better?

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.

Views into the Bailey Range
Views into the Bailey Range

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.

End of the road at Obstruction Point
End of the road at Obstruction Point

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.

Riding the ridge back to the paved road
Riding the ridge back to the paved road

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.

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