fun things to do with kids in olympic national park hurricane ridge washington   Travel for Kids
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Hurricane Ridge area

hurricane ridge
This section of Olympic National Park has steep valleys, sub-alpine meadows, and snow-covered peaks. Kids wondering why it's called Hurricane Ridge? In winter the area gets not only 30ft of snow, but also winds up to 75 mph. Due to these harsh conditions, trees and plants have adapted to survive, and the avalanche lilies bloom in the snow. Even in late August, patches of snow are on the ground.
    Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
      Stop into the visitor center for a 3D model of Olympic National Park to see the different habitats in the park, and for information about wildflowers and animals. Restrooms and snack bar are available.
      In front of the visitor center is a terrace, with panoramic views of the mountains, including Mt. Olympus (7,980 ft.), Mt. Carrie (6,995 ft.), Mt. Seattle (6,256 ft.). Bring a picnic lunch to sit outside and enjoy the stellar scenery. More picnic tables are also available past the visitor center, down the road to the west.
      Tip: In busy summer months, come early, Hurricane Ridge parking lot can fill up.
    Hurricane Ridge Hiking Trails
    Three trails are perfect for kids – Big Meadow, Cirque Rim and parts of High Ridge trails are paved, High Ridge up to Sunrise Point is dirt. The trails start from the parking lot in front of the visitor center.
    Stay on the trails – meadows are fragile, so don't flop down on the grasses and flowers.
      Big Meadow Trail – A short loop trail, in June and July the open meadow is blooming with yellow, pink, purple and white wildflowers.
      Cirque Rim Trail – This .75 mile trail goes in a loop from the west end of the parking lot, to the eastern end, and intersects the High Ridge trail. This trail has north-facing overlooks to of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and on a clear day Vancouver Island in Canada and other mountains of the Cascade Range.
    High Ridge trail – Take the short but steep hike to Sunrise Point. At the top are 360 degree panoramas including the Olympic mountain ranges to the south and east, as well. You're also likely to see fluffy white mountain goats on this part of the trail. We saw mountain goats traipsing around the summit, four goats resting in the shade, and two young ones rooting around in the trees.
    Heart O' the Forest Trail
      Further down the mountain, on the same road at leads up to Hurricane Ridge, turn off into the Heart O' the Hills campground. Drive to Loop E for the start of Heart O' the Forest trail.
    The largely-level trail goes for 2 miles through an old-growth forest. It's a wonderful walk, with spooky roots of fallen trees, green moss-covered branches and rocks, bright orange fungus and alien-looking dark brown mushrooms, sword ferns, bunchberry dogwood with bright red berries in late summer.
      Tip: If you don't have time to get to the Hoh Rain Forest, this trail is a nice alternative.
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