With summer coming to an end and fall upon us, there’s still time to get in a few good hikes to enjoy the spectacular weather on the Olympic Peninsula this year. Here are four hikes with different rewards waiting for your exploration.
Hurricane Ridge Area – High above the clouds
Towering 18 miles above Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is one of the most popular destinations in Olympic National Park. Magnificent vistas stretch far into the interior of Olympic Mountains and north into Canada and the San Juan Islands. There are many hikes in this area that you can customize to your activity level and suit your adventurous spirit.
- Klahane Ridge is a 3.8-mile, one-way hike that gains 250 feet in the first 2.8 miles. The first 2.8 miles of this trail is on a ridge to a junction with the Klahhane Switchback trail. An additional mile climbs 800 feet on the Switchback trail to Klahhane Ridge.
- The Hurricane Hill hike is a 1.6 mile one-way hike on a paved trail that climbs to a panoramic view of mountains and saltwater. The trail begins at the end of the Hurricane ridge Road. The first 0.25 miles is wheelchair accessible with assistance. To make it a longer hike, continue from Hurricane Hill through meadows and steep forested switchbacks to the start of the Whiskey Bend Road.
Sol Duc Area – Commune with Nature
The Sol Duc Valley offers outstanding beauty and recreation. If you are looking for a walk through the giants of the forest to a pounding waterfall and finishing the day with a rewarding soak in some mineral pools, bring your towel. You’ve found your bliss!
Sol Duc Falls is one of the largest and most beautiful in Olympic National Park, with trail and bridge access. It is the only falls with viewing from above and it is one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. The Sol Duc Road passes through old-growth forest and parallels the river on its way to the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and trail head to start hikers headed into the Olympic Mountains.
The Lover’s Lane trail is a 6.0-mile loop through old growth forest that links the Sol Duc Resort to Sol Duc Falls.
For a shorter hike, 0.8 miles one way, to the falls begin at the trailhead. For a 2.6 mile hike one way, climb 1,500 feet through dense forest to the sparkling Mink Lake.
Further into the interior 3.8 miles one way, is Deer Lake with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet.
After any of these hikes, soak in the mineral pools or get a massage! Relax!
Dungeness Spit – Bring your binoculars!
At 5.5 miles in length, the Dungeness Spit is the world’s longest naturally occurring sandspit and home to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Its trails and picnic areas offer breathtaking views of the beaches, Dungeness Harbor and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If you’re up for the hike to the end of the spit, you’ll find the old New Dungeness Lighthouse, built in 1857 and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Access to the Light Station is limited to hikers at low tide and small boats in calm seas. The Dungeness NWR provides habitat for many different species. More than 250 species of birds, 41 species of land mammals, and eight species of marine mammals have been recorded in the refuge. It provides critical habitat for a number of species, some of them threatened or endangered, and is an important stop for many birds during migration.
Jupiter Ridge Trail – Ready for adventure?
Trailhead is 22 miles north of Hoodsport. Enter off Highway 101 at Black Point (west Mt. Jupiter Rd –FS rd#2610-10). Follow for 2.5 mi. to #2610-11-left fork.
From the trailhead, you rise 500 ft. over 47 switchbacks! Don’t let that discourage you. You crest the top of the Jupiter Ridge and hike along its back through Olympic National Forest and The Brothers Wilderness area immediately. Along the way, several spots give breathtaking views on both sides of the trail into the Dosewallips and Duckabush River valleys. The full hike takes you around one of the two false peaks back to the main Jupiter Peak. The trail is very narrow in spots so the 360° view No. & So. is of the valleys, E. to Seattle area, and W. into the Olympics and Mt. Anderson. Roundtrip is 15 miles. 3-5hrs. (with lunch time on top) Moderate climb most of the way. Wild flowers are spectacular. BRING WATER A MUST! We stash ½ gals. along the ridge after we crest the switchbacks. Great to have on the way down and a small amount for the summit. Refresh yourselves at Rocky Brook Falls on the Dosewallips Rd (3mi.) after the hike. It’s one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail.