Snowshoers enjoy a new snowfall at Hurricane Ridge in this file photo. (Michael Dashiell /Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Snowshoers enjoy a new snowfall at Hurricane Ridge in this file photo. (Michael Dashiell /Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Olympic National Park begins winter season

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Winter season operations for Hurricane Ridge began Friday and will continue through March 26.

That means that, weather permitting, Hurricane Ridge Road will be open Friday through Sunday, except for Christmas Day.

In addition, the road is scheduled to be open daily from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2, and the holiday Mondays of Jan. 16 and Feb. 20.

Hurricane Ridge Road typically opens at 9 a.m., though times can vary. Depending on weather and road conditions, the road may open as late as noon, or not open at all.

The road closes to uphill traffic at 4 p.m. and all vehicles must exit the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station by 5 p.m.

All vehicles, including four-wheel drive, are required 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 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.

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

Visitor center

The restrooms and exhibit area will be open inside the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday throughout the season, except Christmas Day. Both will be open during the days the road is open.

The concessionaire-operated Mountain View Café, gift shop and rental shop on the lower level of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will open on Dec. 9, and will have the same operating hours as the visitor center.

Food service will be take-out only.

Visitors are asked to be prepared to use their vehicles as warming areas in case the visitor center does not open due to weather or staffing issues. Visitors also are urged to pack extra food, water, dry clothing, and blankets and/or sleeping bags in their vehicles.

Downhill skiing

The Hurricane Ridge Downhill Ski, Snowboard, and Tubing Area has two rope tows, a poma lift and a tubing park.

Operated by the Hurricane Winter Sports Club, it is scheduled to operate Dec. 4-March 26.

Weather and snow permitting, the area will be open weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Christmas Day. It will open on holidays that the road also is open.

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

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 (nps.gov/olym/planyour visit/cross-country-skiing- snowshoeing-routes.htm), or the park newspaper, The Bugler (nps.gov/olym/learn/news/newspaper.htm).

Snowshoe walks

Ranger-led snowshoe walks will begin at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center on Saturdays from Dec. 31 to March 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Snowshoe walks may be canceled at any time because of weather, operational priorities, and/or safety concerns. Call 360-565-3131 for updates. There is no additional cost for this program.

Snowshoe walks last 90 minutes and cover less than a mile. They are limited to 20 participants.

Registration starts at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center at 1 p.m.

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 is urged to check the Northwest Avalanche Center website (nwac.us) and the current conditions posted at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.

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).

Other park areas

The Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles is open daily except Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Restrooms are open daily and are located outside the main building.

Staff are available to answer questions at 360-565-3130.

Wilderness

Staff are available from 9 a.m., to 4 p.m. daily at the Port Angeles Wilderness Information Center located inside the Olympic National Park Visitor Center.

Staff members distribute bear canisters and answer questions.

Like the visitor center, the Wilderness Information Center is closed Christmas Day.

Staff are also available 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.

Check the park website for more information on winter travel in the wilderness: nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-winter-travel.htm.

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.

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 at nps.gov/olym/planyour visit/campgroundstatus.htm.

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, the park said. 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 forests

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.

Call the Road & Weather line at 360-565-3131 to check current road and campground status information.

Find more information and a video about visiting Hurricane Ridge, visit go.nps.gov/HRwinter.

Find more information about visiting Olympic National Park in winter at go.nps.gov/OlympicWinter22-23.

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