There's a piece of advice that seasoned Olympic travelers know well: Be flexible. Winter here is full of surprises, from floods and fallen trees to wind storms and blizzards. Roads often open and close on short notice like the shifting staircases of Hogwarts Castle.
Olympic may be changeable, but fortunately it's also vast and magical. That means you have options! To make a backup plan or four, peruse the pages ahead, especially page 8, or use the NPS app to help you plan and navigate.
As in life, flexibility can be a strength. We wish you all a wonderful, flexible visit to Olympic, and a safe and healthy 2022!
How Do You Recreate Responsibly?
Know before you go. Visit nps.gov/olym (you're there now! Look at the top of the page for alerts) for current park conditions and availability of restrooms and other facilities. Make a plan, bring the Ten Essentials and if you are sick, stay home.
Keep it close. Follow the state, tribal and local orders for where you're traveling. The National Park Service is working closely with public health professionals to make operational changes and adapt to changing conditions.
Keep your distance. Follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines for staying six feet away from others. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth if you’re near others, and always inside park buildings.
Know your limits. Consider postponing challenging hikes or trying new activities while first responders, parks and communities continue to concentrate on responding to the pandemic.
Keep it with you. If you brought it, take it with you. Trash collection and restroom facilities will continue to be limited in many park areas.
Keep it inclusive. Be an active part of making our nation’s parks and public lands safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.
What's Open at Hurricane Ridge Today?
Remember, all the dates below are weather permitting! When snow, ice, or avalanche conditions make it unsafe to open the road, the gate will remain locked and no facilities or services will open at Hurricane Ridge that day. We make these decisions based on the conditions each morning, so once you've checked this calendar, make sure to also call 360-565-3131 or check the @HRWinterAccess twitter. And if the Hurricane Ridge road is open, remember that all vehicles must carry tire chains - yes, even those with 4-wheel drive!
What's open, what's not - WEATHER PERMITTING of course!
Hurricane Ridge Road: Open weather permitting typically* 9:00 am-4:00 pm Friday-Sunday, November 26-March 27. Exceptions: Closed December 25; open daily December 26-January 2; open holiday Mondays January 17 and February 21. During this winter plowing schedule, the road closes to uphill traffic at 4:00 pm and all vehicles must be below the Heart O’ the Hills gate by 5:00 p.m. After March 27 the road may be open as weather, staffing and road conditions allow. By early May the road is usually open 24 hours a day.
*Depending on weather and road conditions, the road may open as early as 8:00 a.m., as late as noon, or not open at all.
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center: Exhibit area closed. Ranger-staffed information desk open, weather permitting, 10-4 Friday-Sunday, November 26-March 27. Exceptions: Closed December 25; open daily December 26-January 2; open holiday Mondays January 17 and February 21. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing route information is posted at the visitor center and available in the Winter Bugler park newspaper. NOTE: There is no indoor warming area or dining area available this winter. Restrooms are available.
Hurricane Ridge Cafe, Gift Shop & Ski/Snowshoe Rental Shop: Operated by Aramark, an Authorized Concessioner. The facilities are open 10-4 Friday-Sunday, December 10-March 27. Exceptions: Closed December 25; open daily December 26-January 2; open holiday Mondays January 17 and February 21. Cafe is takeout only, no indoor dining area. Website: www.olympicnationalparks.com/things-to-do/hurricane-ridge/
Snowshoe with a Ranger: Depending on COVID-19 impacts and snow-permitting, the park may offer ranger-guided snowshoe walks at 1:30 p.m. on weekends and holiday Mondays (January 17 and February 21) from December 26 through March 27. Walks last 1.5 hours and cover less than a mile. Walks limited to 12 participants. Sign-up starts at the Hurricane Ridge information window at 1:00 p.m. If you can walk, you can snowshoe! Snowshoes and instruction provided. Cost is $7 for adults, $3 for youth 6-15 years old, and free for children 5 years old and under. Participants should prepare for cold, snow, wind or even rain. Dress in layers, wear warm, waterproof boots and bring hats, mittens, sunscreen and sunglasses. If the road is closed, walks are cancelled.
Will this be like any other winter? No. The facilities and services that have been available in years past are operating differently to protect visitors and staff. The exhibit area, warming area, and dining area all remain closed, so be sure to plan accordingly, and prepare to eat or warm up in your vehicle.