Hurricane Ridge set to reopen on Tuesday

The Hurricane Ridge area will reopen on Tuesday, June 27, the Olympic National Park announced this week.

Parking spaces will be limited, so the park encourages visitors to use Clallam Transit’s shuttle service to the ridge.

Clallam Transit’s shuttle service to Hurricane Ridge had been ready since June 1 to transport riders from downtown Port Angeles to one of the most popular destinations in Olympic National Park, but it was stymied like everyone else who wanted to visit, hike or picnic by the closure of the road leading up to the site since a May 7 fire destroyed the 71-year-old, 12,201-square-foot day lodge at the summit.

The lodge was closed to visitors and undergoing an extensive rehabilitation project at the time of the fire. The fire was first reported by a law enforcement ranger on patrol.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The day lodge area is fenced and closed to the public.

The wait for the road to reopen would not be much longer, Jerald Weaver, the park’s chief of resources management, told the Clallam Transit board at its June 21 meeting.

He was right. The park announced the date for reopening late Wednesday afternoon and encouraged visitors to use the Clallam Transit shuttle, which will operate several times daily, to avoid long lines at the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station.

The schedule is available at The shuttle will operate even if the road closes to private vehicles, the park said.

“We are excited to re-open this area to visitors and are committed to restoring permanent visitor services in the future,” said Superintendent Sula Jacobs in a press release.

“We are also thankful for the public’s understanding. Our commitment is the safety of our visitors.”

Clallam Transit’s enhanced Hurricane Ridge service, originally planned to start on June 24, will increase to seven the number of daily shuttles and add stops at the Lake Angeles and Switchback trailheads.

Photos courtesy of National Park Service / Hurricane Ridge Lodge, before and after a May 7 fire that destroyed the historic structure.

Photos courtesy of National Park Service / Hurricane Ridge Lodge, before and after a May 7 fire that destroyed the historic structure.

The system boosted service in response to rider demand, although the shuttle will still not stop at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at the south end of Hurricane Ridge Road.

At the ridge, there will be no indoor spaces to protect visitors from inclement weather. Portable toilets will be available.

Access to Hurricane Ridge Road will be limited from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Due to restroom capacity, the daily limit is 315 vehicles with the parking area supporting 175 vehicles at a time, the park said.

Once capacity is reached for the day, the road will close to private vehicles. The park will monitor the entry system and make adjustments as needed, including to daily vehicle capacity.

Weather can be unpredictable at Hurricane Ridge, the park said. Visitors should check the weather forecast before traveling because indoor warming spaces and drinking water will not be available at the site.

Hurricane Hill Road, a 1.5-mile road beyond the Hurricane Ridge parking area, will be open. Portable toilets will be available at Picnic Areas A and B.

Obstruction Point Road will be open to vehicles. Visitors should be prepared for an 8-mile gravel, narrow, winding mountain road, with some steep drop-offs. Trails from Obstruction Point Road may still be snow covered.

Cyclists can use Hurricane Ridge Road once it reopens to the public. Portable toilets will be available at mileposts 9 and 12.

Additional road closures are likely once the investigation is complete and the cleanup process begins. The exact dates for the full closures will be announced when they are known, the park said. Visitors can check for any changes in the status of the road and other facilities.