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Hurricane Ridge

A reconnaissance trip in smoke filled skies salvaging a bit of the day

By the Numbers

Distance
3 miles
Elevation
815 feet
Moving Time
1h0m
External

Ryan and I had a three-day, two-night trip planned from Obstruction Point and through Grand Valley with two nights at Upper Cameron, an area of the Park I’ve never seen. Unfortunately we were hit with the double-whammy of an excessive heat warning and an air quality alert from forest fire smoke. We talked it over with a few Rangers at the WIC in Port Angeles and ultimately decided, after a few re-routing discussions, to cancel the trip and try another time when the conditions improved.

From the morning drive onwards it was clear smoke was here to stay for the day.

Smoky sunrise at Blakely Harbor
Smoky sunrise at Blakely Harbor

Not wanting the day to be a complete bust, we decided to drive to the top of Hurricane Ridge and do a short hike on a trail new to both of us. There are a few trails but the one I was most curious about was the trail to the Switchback trail. There’s no loop option and we knew wouldn’t hike very long in the conditions so it was a simple out-and-back.

I’ve ridden the Hurricane Ridge road twice and am familiar with the long climb. It was super cool to see it snake it’s way up the mountain and through the trees even with the smoke layers.

Layers of mountains among the smoke
Layers of mountains among the smoke
Ribbon of road leading to Hurricane Ridge
Ribbon of road leading to Hurricane Ridge

The trail itself was pleasant though exposed and dusty. More often than not I’m either on the bike or snowshoes when I come to Hurricane Ridge so it was quite the alternative on this hot, smoky, and dry day.

Smoky film on the horizon
Smoky film on the horizon
Ryan leading the way back
Ryan leading the way back
Harebell with a smoky background
Harebell with a smoky background
Shades of smoky blue
Shades of smoky blue

After a few miles of walking we decided to turn around, head down the hill, and enjoy an espresso in Port Angeles. Not the day we planned by fun nonetheless.

Route

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