I have never been a huge fan of the classic movie “Sound of Music.” It’s a fun, musical diversion around the holidays, but the opening scene of Maria twirling in the high mountain meadows full of light and song just never struck a cord, despite my time spent hiking the Austrian Alps and lake region.
A day hike along Hurricane Ridge, high in the Olympic Mountains, was the first time I’ve burst into “The hills are alive….!” sentiment. At least inside my head. I spent most of the hike gaping every few steps at the meadows swathed with bands of wildflower color, the top-of-the-world ecstasy (that may have been aided by the high altitude’s thinning oxygen), and the ridge upon ridge of mountains that teased me as the clouds danced in and out to reveal small sections at a time, like a seductive bit of bare ankle flashed beneath a demure skirt.
This Hurricane Hill trail is a great hike for fibromites or anyone else who wants a stunning, ends-of-the-earth experience of remote mountains but cannot trust their body to handle the rigors of backpacking. The path along the ridge is paved and relatively smooth all the way up to the overlook and ascends at a mostly gentle incline, with a couple of exceptions towards the end. This is not an accessible trail, but if you’re able to walk and worried about the knees or stamina, it’s a doable 3.4 miles round-trip from the trailhead parking lot at a relaxed walking pace. Be forewarned: the best times to hike this section of the Olympics during the summer high season is early in the day before the hordes of tourists ascend.
To view my photo slideshow of our Hurricane Ridge hike in Olympic National Park, click on the link below.