Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Winter schedule set for Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

November 6, 2009, 7:22 am
Hurricane Ridge, high in the mountains above Port Angeles, Wash., will be open Friday through Sunday this winter, plus school holidays, for winter recreation.

Here are the details about the Hurricane Ridge winter season.

Hurricane Ridge Road

Barring heavy snows or winter storms, the Hurricane Ridge Road is scheduled
to be open 9 a.m. to dusk, Friday through Sunday, Nov. 20, through
March 28.  The road will be closed Monday through Thursday during the
winter season, except for Monday holidays and an extended period during the
Christmas-New Year’s holiday.

During the holiday period, the road is scheduled to be open daily from
Friday, Dec. 18, through Sunday, Jan. 3, except for Christmas Day.

The road is also scheduled to be open on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
(Monday, Jan. 18) and Presidents Day (Monday, Feb. 15.)

Prior to Nov. 20, the road will be open as weather, road conditions and
staffing allow.  Updated information is available by calling the park’s
Road and Weather Hotline at (360) 565-3131.

 Winter conditions such as storms, drifting snow, or avalanche danger may delay or prohibit the road from opening or may force an early closure. Human safety is the most important consideration.

The Hurricane Ridge Road may also close temporarily if the parking lot
becomes completely full.  All vehicles must park within the Hurricane Ridge
parking lot.

To make best use of the available parking spaces, park staff urges
Hurricane Ridge visitors to carpool whenever possible and pay extra
attention to making the best use of parking spaces.

Current road and weather information about Hurricane Ridge is posted on the
official Olympic National Park website throughout the winter season, at
Recorded information about Hurricane Ridge Road and weather conditions is
also available 24 hours a day at (360) 565-3131.

Entrance fees are collected at the Heart O’the Hills entrance station
whenever the road is open.  Olympic’s seven-day entrance pass, which allows
a private vehicle to enter any of the park’s roadways, costs $15.  The
Olympic National Park Annual Pass, good for one year after the purchase
date, costs $30.

Tire Chain Requirement

All vehicles are required to carry chains when traveling above the Heart
O’the Hills entrance station on the Hurricane Ridge Road between Nov.
20, and March 28.

This requirement applies to all vehicles (including 4-wheel drive),
regardless of tire type, and applies to all road and weather conditions.
Additional requirements, such as traction tires or chains on vehicles may
also be enacted when conditions warrant.  Drivers must comply with posted
traction requirements.

Tubing and Sliding

Because of the potential for serious injury and the difficulty of providing
a safe experience, tubing and sliding are permitted only for children eight
years of age and younger, at the Small Children’s Snowplay Area at
Hurricane Ridge.  This area, just west of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor
Center, is closely managed and monitored for safe use.  The Sunrise sliding
area is now closed due to a variety of safety problems.

“The lack of parking, combined with large numbers of vehicles and
pedestrians, and typical winter driving conditions create an extremely
hazardous situation,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen
Gustin.  “Unfortunately, the unsafe nature and location of this site means
that Sunrise snowplay area will remain closed.”

 If at any time during the winter season, conditions become too dangerous
for sliding or if adequate staffing is unavailable, the Small Children’s
Snowplay Area will be closed to all use.   Visitors should check at a park
visitor center for current information.

Olympic National Park Visitor Center

The Olympic National Park Visitor Center, at the base of Hurricane Ridge
Road, is open daily throughout the winter from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   The
Visitor Center will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day)
and Friday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day.)

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and Ski Shop

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open with restrooms and a warm
seating area whenever the road is open. Beginning on Saturday, Dec. 19,
the information desk will be staffed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays
and Sundays through March 28.  The desk will be staffed on Martin Luther
King, Jr. Day (Jan. 18) and Presidents Day (Feb. 15) as well.

The snack bar and ski shop, with ski and snowshoe rentals will be open on
Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 12 through March 28; along with Martin
Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, Jan. 18) and Presidents Day (Monday,
Feb. 15) and during the holiday period from Monday, Dec. 28 through
Sunday, Jan. 3.

Snowshoe Walks

Snowshoe walks for individuals and families will be offered at 2 p.m. on
Saturdays, Sundays and Monday holidays, beginning on Saturday, Dec. 19
through March 28. Snowshoe walks will also be offered at 2 p.m. on
Friday, Jan. 1. The walks last 90 minutes and are less than one
mile in length. Space on walks is limited, so people should register at the
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center information desk 30 minutes before the
scheduled walk.

A $5 donation from each snowshoe walk participant helps the park provide
snowshoe walks and repair and replace snowshoes.

Organized groups such as youth or school groups must make advance
reservations for snowshoe walks. Group walks are scheduled for 10:30 a.m.
on Saturdays and Sundays and last 90 minutes. Space is limited, so groups
should call Olympic National Park at (360) 565-3136 for reservations and
more information.

Downhill Skiing

Weather permitting, the downhill ski tows will operate from 10 a.m. to 4
p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 12 through March 28.   The ski
tows will also be open Friday, Jan. 1 and Monday holidays. For
more information about downhill skiing at Hurricane Ridge, people may call
360-457-2879 or visit www.hurricaneridge.com on the web.

Overnight Wilderness Camping

Overnight camping is permitted in the Hurricane Ridge area on Friday and
Saturday nights, and on Sunday nights before a Monday holiday.  Winter
camps must be at least one mile from the Hurricane Ridge parking area.
Overnight parking is not permitted at Hurricane Ridge; parking and shuttle
options are explained at the time of registration.

Anyone planning a winter camping trip on Hurricane Ridge must first
register at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center to obtain a wilderness
camping permit and must also check in and out with a ranger at the
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.

Avalanche Information

Up-to-date information about weather and avalanche risk is available from
the Northwest Avalanche Center on the web at www.nwac.noaa.gov/ or by
calling 206-526-6677.  Anyone planning to venture beyond the maintained
downhill ski area or the immediate Hurricane Ridge area should always check
with the Northwest Avalanche Center or a ranger for current weather and
snow conditions.

Hurricane Ridge Web cam and Weather Station

Hurricane Ridge weather conditions are available online at the park’s
website at www.nps.gov/olym and clicking first on “Photos & Multimedia” and
then on “Web cams”.  The web cam image is updated every 15 minutes (although
severe weather can cause web cam outages); weather station information is
provided hourly.