News Release

Olympic National Park shares “top ten tips” for fun and safe winter recreation

A person cross country skis across a snowy landscape. The Olympic Mountains rise in the distance.
Cross-country skiing is one of many activities at Hurricane Ridge in the winter.

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News Release Date: November 9, 2022

Contact: Meagan Huff, Acting Public Information Officer, (360) 409-3737

PORT ANGELES, Wash. – As winter comes to the Pacific Northwest, national park rangers share their tips and recommendations for visitors planning a wintry visit to Olympic National Park. While winter weather may bring increased road hazards and some closures, it can also be a special time to experience this Northwest national park. Said Park Ranger Jared Low, "Visiting Olympic during the winter season is a great time to experience the peacefulness of a snowy landscape, take a walk through the cool rain forest, or storm watch at the coast. With preparation and planning, visitors can have fun, stay safe, and help us protect park resources."

Visiting Hurricane Ridge in Winter


Hurricane Ridge is a popular place for winter recreation at Olympic National Park. Although close to Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is subject to extreme winter conditions, including sudden storms, white-outs, and avalanches, making planning and preparation for winter conditions essential. Weather conditions can change quickly and with little warning. Hurricane Ridge Road is the only way to access Hurricane Ridge by car. This road can experience clsoures due to extreme weather.

Find more information and watch a video about visiting Hurricane Ridge in winter at https://go.nps.gov/HRwinter

Top Ten Tips


To help visitors prepare for their winter visit to Hurricane Ridge, national park rangers have compiled a list of top ten tips:
 
  1. Carry tire chains or approved traction control devices and know how to use them. It's the law!
  2. Check the Hurricane Ridge in Winter Twitter account to see if the road to Hurricane Ridge is currently open.
  3. Wear warm layers and bring along extra clothing and emergency supplies like food, water, and first aid gear. You may want something dry to change into after playing in the snow.
  4. Go to https://go.nps.gov/HRwinter to see what services are open at Hurricane Ridge.
  5. If you're visiting Hurricane Ridge, you may have to wait in your car at the Heart O' the Hills entrance station if the parking lot is full. Bring a blanket to stay cozy and a book or podcast to pass the time.
  6. Winter driving basics: Take it slow. Brake slowly, turn slowly, accelerate slowly, drive slowly.
  7. Leave your dog at home. Pets aren't allowed in buildings or on snow trails at Hurricane Ridge, and they'll get cold waiting in your car.
  8. Be on the lookout for cornices and other signs of avalanche danger. Learn more about traveling in snowy areas and avalanche safety at https://go.nps.gov/OlympicSnow
  9. Don't feed the Canada jays, even if they ask you to. Just don't. Let them be wild.
  10. Always have a backup plan! Olympic is a big and diverse park. If you don't need to visit Hurricane Ridge, you can still enjoy rivers, forests, lakes, and the beautiful Pacific Coast!

Winter Season


Winter season operations for Hurricane Ridge are set to begin on Friday, November 25, 2022, and end on March 26, 2023.

Driving to Hurricane Ridge


Weather permitting, Hurricane Ridge Road is scheduled to be open Friday through Sunday through March 26, 2023 (closed December 25, Christmas Day). In addition, the road is scheduled to be open daily December 26 through January 2, and the holiday Mondays of January 16, 2023, and February 20, 2023.

Hurricane Ridge Road typically opens at 9 am, though times can vary. Depending on weather and road conditions, the road may be open as late as noon, or not open at all. The road closes to uphill traffic at 4 pm and all vehicles must exit the Heart O' the Hills entrance station by 5 pm.

All vehicles, including four-wheel drive, are requred to carry tire chains or approved traction control devices when traveling above the Heart O' the Hills entrance station during the winter season.

Winter storms can close or delay opening of the Hurricane Ridge Road; high winds and blizzard conditions are not uncommon. Road and weather condition updates are available on the Road and Weather line at (360) 565-3131 and by following @HRWinterAccess on Twitter (no account necessary).

Hurricane Ridge Road closes temporarily when the parking lot becomes completely full. Park staff urge visitors to park efficiently in order to maximize parking space.

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center


The restrooms and exhibit area will be open inside the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Be prepared to use your vehicle as a warming area in case the visitor center does not open due to weather or staffing issues. Pack extra food, water, dry clothing, and blankets and/or sleeping bags in your vehicle.

The visitor center will be open 10 am to 4 pm, Friday through Sunday, November 25, 2022, to March 26, 2023. Exceptions: Closed December 25; open daily December 26 to January 2; open holiday Mondays January 16 and February 20.

The concessioner-operated Mountain View Café, Gift Shop & Rental Shop on the lower level of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will open on December 9, 2022, and will have the same operating hours as the visitor center, described above. Food service will be take-out only.

Downhill Ski, Snowboard, and Tubing Area


The Hurricane Ridge Downhill Ski, Snowboard, and Tubing Area has two rope tows, a poma lift and tubing park, and is operated by the Hurricane Winter Sports Club. It is scheduled to operate December 4, 2022, through March 26, 2023. Weather and snow permitting, the Downhill Ski, Snowboard, and Tubing Area is open weekends, 10 am to 4 pm. Exceptions: Closed December 24 and 25; open daily December 26 to January 2; open holiday Mondays January 16 and February 20.

More information about the Hurricane Ridge Downhill Ski, Snowboard, and Tubing Area for the 2022-2023 season is available at hurricaneridge.com.

Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing


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 snowboarding beyond the immediate Hurricane Ridge area must 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, the park website, or the park newspaper, The Bugler.

Snowshoe with a Ranger


Ranger-led snowshoe walks will begin at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center on Saturdays from December 31 to March 25 at 1:30 pm. Snowshoe walks may be canceled at any time due to weather, operational priorities, and/or safety concerns. Call (360) 565-3131 for updates. There is no additional cost for this program. Snowshoe walks last 1.5 hours and cover less than a mile. Walks are limited to 20 participants. Sign up starts at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center at 1 pm. Snowshoes and instructions are provided. Participants should prepare for cold, snow, wind, or even rain. Dress in layers, wear warm, waterproof boots and bring hats, mittens, sunscreen and glasses. 

Avalanche Information


Up-to-date information about weather and avalanche risk is available from the Northwest Avalanche Center. 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.

Hurricane Ridge Webcam


Hurricane Ridge webcams are available on the park website. The webcam image is updated every 15 minutes (although severe weather can obstruct the webcam views).

Olympic National Park Visitor Center


The Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles, Washington, is currently open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) from 9 am to 4 pm. Restrooms are open daily and are located outside the main building. Staff are also available by phone or email to answer questions. Call (360) 565-3130 or email us.

Wilderness Information Centers and Wilderness Safety


Staff are available daily 9 am to 4 pm at the Port Angeles Wilderness Information Center located inside the Olympic National Park Visitor Center to distribute bear canisters and answer questions. Like the visitor center, the Wilderness Information Center is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Staff are also available by email or by phone at (360) 565-3100. Wilderness camping permits can be reserved online in advance via Recreation.gov. The Quinault and Hoodsport Wilderness Information Centers are closed for the season.

Wilderness use during the fall and winter require additional skill in navigation, route-finding, and snow travel. Navigation – map, compass, and GPS system – is one of the Ten Essentials. Navigation systems should be used when planning your route and orienting yourself to your surroundings. Know how to use a topographical or relief map as well as your compass or GPS unit before going out. Check the park website for more information on winter travel in the wilderness.

Winter Closures


Deer Park Road, Obstruction Point Road, and Hurricane Hill Road are closed for the winter season. Sol Duc Road typically closes for the winter due to snow and icy road conditions. Other park roads may close with short notice due to road and weather conditions. Call the Road & Weather line at (360) 565-3131 to check current road and campground status information.

Winter Camping


All park campgrounds open during winter are first-come, first-served. Some park campgrounds are primitive with no potable water. Check campground statuses on the park website here.

Pacific Coast


Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette are open, weather and conditions permitting. Visitors should be aware of high tides in the winter and any predicted storms. Storms can make beach hiking hazardous and even impossible due to large waves. Coastal streams that are normally easy to cross can be waist deep or deeper during storms.

Rain Forest


Throughout the winter season, rain falls frequently in the Hoh, Queets, and Quinault Valleys, contributing to the yearly average of 140 inches of precipitation. Visitors should prepare for wet weather. For updates on road and trail conditions, call the recorded Road & Weather line at (360) 565-3131.

Recreate Responsibly


Whether you're planning to backpack, snowshoe, ski, or take a day hike, please remember to Recreate Responsibly! We encourage you to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and follow Leave No Trace principles when you visit.




 



Helpful Links for Winter Travel

A person snowshoes across a wintry, snow-covered landscape.

Plan Your Visit

Find information on operating hours, fees and passes, places to go and things to do at Olympic National Park.

Road work near Lake Crescent.

Alerts & Conditions

Don't be caught unaware! Check our Alerts & Conditions page before your visit.

A cross-country skier travels across a snowy landscape with the Olympic Mountains in the distance.

Visiting Hurricane Ridge in Winter

Learn more about visiting Hurricane Ridge in winter.

Snow plow works to clear heavy snow on Hurricane Ridge Road.

Hurricane Ridge Winter Access Twitter

Find up to date information on winter road conditions on our Hurricane Ridge Winter Access Twitter page.

Two hikers travel through a snowy, mountainous landscape.

Wilderness Winter Travel

If you're planning to visit the Olympic Wilderness during the fall, winter, or spring, be prepared for inclement weather! Learn more here.

Visitors look at a newspaper in front of a visitor center

Park Newspaper

The latest edition of the park newspaper, the Bugler.

Last updated: November 9, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

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Port Angeles , WA 98362

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360 565-3130

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