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Snowfields and meadows on a classic Olympic park hike.

We don't know a better short alpine outing in Washington than the hike to Hurricane Ridge. In 1-1/2 miles, Hurricane Hill Lookout Trail in Olympic National Park leads you past meadows and snowfields to a classic sampler of Northwest scenery. From the "hill's" 5,751-foot summit, the full-circle panorama ranges from glaciers and flower fields to islands and seashore, from the heart of the Olympic wilderness to busy Port Angeles far below.

On clear days, look north to Victoria and Vancouver Island, then northeast to the San Juan Islands and snowy Mount Baker beyond. Eastward is the distant string of the Cascades, to the south the Bailey Range with Mount Olympus beyond.

Sit quietly near the trail and wildlife may venture close or pass by: marmots and jays, deer and mountain goats, perhaps a black bear. From about mid-July, wild-flowers crowd the meadows--frilly anemones, golden glacier lilies, swales of vivid blue lupine, scarlet paintbrush, and a host of others.

To reach the trailhead, leave U.S. Highway 101 in Port Angeles at Race Street and drive south (uphill) a mile to the national park visitor center. Just beyond, the road curves to the right, becoming Hurricane Ridge Road. Follow it about 18 miles to the main parking area; continue west another mile to a second parking area and the Hurricane Hill Lookout Trail, elevation 5,000 feet.

The trail, remnant of an abandoned road, is paved much of the way. Bring drinking water--there is none on the way.

On calm days, the summit ridge is the ultimate picnic spot, but chilly winds often rake this exposed rib of rock. Bring a warm jacket or windbreaker.
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Title Annotation:Hurricane Hill Lookout Trail in Olympic National Park, Washington
Date:Jul 1, 1985
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