Many Agree This Is The Best And Most Rewarding Hike At Olympic National Park

Occupying almost a million acres in western Washington, Olympic National Park is a must-visit west coast bucket list item. Known for its stunning diversity, it encompasses a range of ecosystems from lush rainforests to snow-capped mountains and dramatic shorelines and beaches. This breathtaking variety in scenery and terrain makes it a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly hikers, who can enjoy access to more than 600 miles of trails in the park. While each one of these trails offers its own unique adventure, one that seems to appear most consistently on lists of the park's top hikes is Hurricane Hill.

The Hurricane Hill Trail is partially paved and only 3.2 miles round trip, making it accessible to a wide range of adventurers, from families with small children to those with disabilities. While the hike is on the shorter side, it certainly doesn't skimp on scenery, boasting expansive, panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and on clear days, even Vancouver Island, Canada. Another great thing about this hike is that it's in an area with a few other spectacular trails for those who'd like to extend their adventure. In all, the Hurricane Hill Trail is one you shouldn't miss when visiting Olympic National Park, whether you're a novice adventurer looking for a fantastic day hike or a serious trekker wanting to warm up your legs before a multi-day expedition. 

Conquering Hurricane Hill in Olympic National Park

The trailhead is located 1.5 miles past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, which is on the Olympic Peninsula around 20 miles south of the town of Port Angeles. Note that this visitor center burned down in 2023, and this is now a simplified Visitor Contact Station. Otherwise, continue to the trailhead parking lot, where you'll find the Hurricane Hill Trail leading out of its northwest corner. From here, the paved path climbs around 700 feet via three long switchbacks. The hike is moderately challenging due to the steady incline, but it's this ascent that rewards hikers with increasingly amazing views with every step. Those with mobility limitations should note that the first portion of the trail is the most accessible, as the last section becomes extremely steep.

While ambling along, of course you'll be taking in the marvelous vistas, but also be on the lookout for wildlife such as mountain goats and marmots, which are known to inhabit the area. The seasonal colors on the trail can also be quite breathtaking, with wildflowers in summer and brilliant foliage in early fall. Speaking of seasons, the best time to hike Hurricane Hill is from late June through late September when it's free from snow. However, know that the weather can change rapidly at any time of year in the mountains. Therefore, you should bring warm clothing layers and a good waterproof raincoat in your backpack, even on warm summer days. 

Other hikes in Olympic National Park

While Hurricane Hill might steal the spotlight, Olympic National Park is home to a plethora of other trails that will delight just about any kind of hiker. For those looking for a greener and less strenuous experience, the Hall of Mosses Trail in the Hoh Rain Forest — which we think is one of the world's most beautiful rainforests — offers an easy 1-mile loop through an ancient and otherworldly moss-draped forest. To extend your immersion in the rainforest, you can continue hiking along the Hoh River Trail for many more miles. Another suggestion is to do the Sol Duc Falls Trail near the town of Forks, an easy trek that leads to one of the Pacific Northwest's most picturesque waterfalls. If you get the eerie feeling that vampires could be lurking in the area, it might be because many scenes from the Twilight series were filmed around Forks. 

We could go on and on about hiking opportunities in Olympic National Park, but you'll just have to come check them out for yourself. A visit to Olympic National Park can be part of an epic road trip to take in beautiful Pacific Northwest scenery. Other not-to-miss national parks in Washington include Mt. Rainier National Park in the southern part of the state and North Cascades National Park in the north.