Klahhane Ridge via Switchback Trail, Hurricane Ridge - Switchback Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington

Klahhane Ridge via Switchback Trail - 3.4 miles

Hurricane Ridge - Switchback Trailhead

View of weathered volcanic and sedimentary formations along the Mount Angeles massif

View of weathered volcanic and sedimentary formations along the Mount Angeles massif

Round-Trip Length: 3.4 miles
Start-End Elevation: 4,444' - 5,875' (5,875' max elevation at Klahhane Ridge)
Elevation Change: +1,431' net elevation gain (+1,435' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Klahhane Ridge via Switchback Trail - 3.4 Miles Round-Trip

Klahhane Ridge connects the east face of Mount Angeles (6,454') and jagged spires of Rocky Peak (6,218'). This high, exposed ridge bookends the north side of the Olympic Mountains and features some of the best views in the Park.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

There are two main ways to reach Klahhane Ridge from Hurricane Ridge Road: the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center Trailhead and the Switchback Trailhead.

The Visitor Center route, which follows Hurricane Ridge to Klahhane Ridge, is longer and more varied. The Switchback Trail is direct and demanding, climbing over 1400' in just 1.7 miles to the ridge. Consider the Switchback Trail if short on time, or just looking for a more intense hike:

The Switchback Trail heads north from Hurricane Ridge Road into a dense, dark forest on the south flank of Mount Angeles. Wildlife is drawn to this stream-crossed area near the trailhead, one of just a few flowing water sources along Hurricane Ridge. 

It rises through dark timber to the Mount Angeles Trail split (.5 miles : 5,045'), and continues (right) on steep switchbacks below colorful basalt spires on the summit (1.1 miles : 5,400'). The trail sweeps across big open slopes on the final push to Klahhane Ridge (1.7 : 5,875').

Panoramic views extend north across the Strait of Juan De Fuca, south across the interior Olympics, and east to the Cascades. Klahhane Ridge stands directly over an interesting rock basin, and forms a sheer headwall over Lake Angeles. Look for mountain goats along ridges and outcrops, and deer and bear crossing alpine slopes below.

You'll have a great look at Mount Angeles, whose distinct summit is comprised of north-leaning sedimentary beds infused with lava fragments and volcanic breccia.

Weathering differentials between each bed have created ribs and flutes: hard volcanic breccia stands up in straight walls, and softer beds of red shale are eroded down into chutes.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 59.194 W123 27.667 — 0.0 miles: Switchback Trailhead - 4,444'
  • N47 59.422 W123 27.684 — 0.5 miles: Mount Angeles Trail junction - bear right - 5,045'
  • N47 59.490 W123 27.655 — 1.1 miles: Ascending rapidly on Switchback Trail - 5,400'
  • N47 59.598 W123 27.573 — 1.7 miles: Klahhane Ridge - 5,875'

Worth Noting

  • Hurricane Ridge sees heavy traffic year round, especially on summer weekends. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.
  • Those seeking a shorter but comparable alpine hike in the Hurricane Ridge Area may consider the Hurricane Hill Trail
  • Rangers lead guided snowshoe walks on winter weekends - call to learn more.

Camping and Backpacking Information

The nearest campground is the Heart O The Hills Campground, located 12 miles north of Hurricane Ridge. There are 105 campsites at Heart O The Hills Campground and it's open year-round.

Backcountry Camping

  • Permits are required for all overnight stays in Olympic National Park. Contact the Wilderness Information Center (360.565.3100) for backcountry camping reservations, permits, and trail conditions. Visit the WIC: 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

  • There's a $5 registration fee per group, + $2 per person per night (children under 15 excluded). If you don't have access to a WIC, or plan to arrive early or late, call the WIC to arrange your permit ahead of time.

  • Quotas and Reservations are in effect May 1 - September 30 for all Grand Valley destinations. 50% of sites can be reserved in advance; the other 50% is available first come, first served from the WIC during business hours up to 24 hours in advance. Self registration is not permitted during this time.

  • Camp only in established sites.

  • Food Storage: Bear canisters are required in specified locations. Where not required they're strongly recommended.

  • Fires are not permitted above 3,500'.

Fishing Information

There is no suitable fishing on Klahhane Ridge, however there is fishing available at Lake Angeles.

  • A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Olympic National Park except when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore. No license is required to harvest surf smelt.
  • A Washington State catch record card is required to fish for salmon or steelhead and they must be accounted for as if caught in state waters. Fishing regulations are specific to site, species, and season. Contact the Park before setting out.
  • Recreational fishing in freshwater areas of Olympic National Park is restricted to artificial lures with single, barbless hooks (exceptions may apply).
  • The use of seines, traps, drugs, explosives, and nets (except to land a legally hooked fish or dip-net smelt) are prohibited.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $15 fee to enter Olympic National Park ($30 annual pass).
  • Pets are not permitted on trails in Olympic National Park, including Hurricane Hill. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.
  • Obey speed limits on Hurricane Ridge Road - the road is windy with many blind curves and drop-offs. Pay attention and drive safely. 

Directions to Trailhead

From Port Angeles: Take Race Street south from the Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles and bear right onto Hurricane Ridge Road. Take Hurrican Ridge Road 14.6 miles to the Switchback Trailhead and small parking area. The trailhead is located on the right hand side embedded into a hairpin turn.

Hurricane Ridge Road is road is open throughout summer. During the winter, the road is scheduled to be open from 9:00 a.m. until dusk, Friday - Sunday, holiday Mondays, and additional days during the Christmas holiday, weather and road conditions permitting. All vehicles must carry tire chains during the winter season. Always check the status of the road before coming.

Contact Information

Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798

Visitor Information: 360.565.3130

Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131

Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)

Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center

Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877

Quinault Wilderness Information Office

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


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