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We hiked this in September and it was incredible! I had no idea we would see so many peaks in the distance. The first part of the trail is woodsy, then much more exposed (it got a little hot!) and steep with some rocks to climb over at points. The view at the top was more than worth it. This is in my top five hikes for sure!

Great trail description in Olympic Mountains Trail Guide.

As those have already stated, the trail head is a mile and a half from the visitor's center where you start when snowshoeing. It wasn't overly crowded. Stunning views on a beautiful day. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Found a pair of glasses on my way down from this hike today (3/15/18). anyone lose a pair? they are thin lenses and a pretty strong prescription!

Great time with my sons on my first backpacking trip. Highly recommend this loop - don’t skimp on the side trips like Lunch Lake. Worth it.

Not a difficult hike at all. I did the 6 miles round trip, and it’s only 1k elevation change. The weather was amazing but they do call it hurricane ridge for a reason, it’s windy. Good amount of snow from the lodge to summit. Views are amazing, on a clear day, you can see Mt. Baker, Straight of Juan de Fuca, and awesome vistas from the Olympics. Highly recommend!!!

22 days ago

Beautiful but go early because it’s way to popular and gets real busy.

I backpacked this loop over the summer. It was my very first time backpacking and we did it clockwise (most people do it counterclockwise) so there was a lot of uphill. It was hard but ridiculously beautiful the entire time. The scenery changes throughout the whole loop too. You hike through forests, in the mountains, and by lakes. At some points I swear I felt like I was walking through Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings. When we went we saw a bunch of mountain goats and even two black bears! I went in August and when we hiked through a part of the mountains there were huckleberries everywhere. Basically the whole thing is amazing!

Beautiful hike. One of the better ones I've done. Make sure to bring snow gear and do the winter pass (right at the fork).

This was a challenging yet doable hike for a beginner snowshoer. Amazing views made it all worth it. Just note that it is a mile and a half from the visitor center to the trail head. We did 6 miles roundtrip. Also, the road to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center was in good condition but only open Friday - Sunday in the winter 9am to 5pm. Best to get there early. We were waiting in line at the gate at 8:40am, got to the Visitor Center parking at 9:30. Started hiking at 10am and back to the car just before 2pm.

Hey! I am headed up to hike this weekend with my girlfriend. We have snowshoes and crampons and intend to start the hike very early (5:30am) in order to summit in one day. As we only have a car, not an SUV we were hoping someone who has been recently could please fill me in on the road conditions getting up there and if our plan to summit sounds do able. Thank you!

1 month ago

First time on this trail with the intention of snowshoeing. At the start of the hike it was mostly icy/muddy combination and t-shirt temps. Ended up using crampons for the entire hike and carried the snowshoes. Several sections on the upper portion have a dozen or so trees down across the trail but nothing major to navigate around. Snow storm with winds moved in as we hit the 5,300 ft. elevation. Plenty of Whitetail deer to view and followed one set of older lion tracks on the trail but never spotted it. Snow and low cloud ceiling blocked the views from the summit but was still an amazing snow hike. By time we returned to the trailhead approximate 3"-5" of snow had fallen. Only a couple markers for this trail, but the trail is used enough to remain apparent even with fresh snow falling. Strenuous hike but enjoyable. I will definitely hike this trail again!

Easy and beautiful

1 month ago

incredible views

1 month ago

This is a super intense hike, lots of rushing glacial river crossings and loose rocks. But it's beautiful! So much fun!

1 month ago

Tried to snowshoe up Mt. Ellinor a few days ago, and while the hike was enjoyable, we wanted to pass on a few warnings. The road to the lower (and also the upper) trailhead is completely snowed out about .8 miles away from the lower trailhead. This is good to know because it'll add that much more time to your hike. I'll also add that snowshoeing through the deep rutted out road for .8 miles was the hardest part of our hike.

Because of our slight delay at the beginning of the hike we ran out of daylight and were unable to fully summit the mountain. We made it to the second junction for the upper trailhead and that was a lot of fun. Watch out for trees dropping enormous amounts of snow, they sound like they could do damage. Also, at the first junction for the upper trailhead, make sure to head up and to the left towards higher ground. There have been some snowshoe tracks continuing straight from the junction and that is not a trail. Look for orange snomobile markers on the trees. If you haven't seen one in 6 or 7 trees you aren't on the trail.

Happy hiking!

A beginner hiker may get winded on the ascent but it is SO worth it when you get to the top. I would 100% do it again. Make sure you bring water and sunscreen. There’s very little tree coverage

beautiful mountains and view❤️

2 months ago

One of my favourite trails to hike, hate the drive up.

not much to see until the very top and it's a very constant uphill slope. seemed very very long, but was a great view... and is said to be haunted so that's a little fun

Beautiful!!! First snow shoe ever on 12/31. The road up was fine in my Subaru crosstrek - however the line got long quick!! Be there at 9am or before! Started near the lodge past the sledding hill... toward hurricane hill. This is the most stunning view! Made it to the end of the “road” and turned back. Didn’t wanna push it to far on my first adventure. A great first place and incredible views !!!

the loop is very nice.however,the views from the trail along the south side of cat peak (out by the cat walk) are the finest from a trail in the Olympic Mountains of western Washington.a small spring comes out just below the trail at one the avalanche tracks in that part of the trail.its the only source of water between heart lake ,cat basin,etc and the end of built trail.

The loop is nice,but no sain intelligent person would do this hike and not go out to the end of built trail at cat peak .carry water.

Amazing view at the top! But a lot more difficult than I expected, at least in the snow. Got completely lost following someone elses tracks in the snow, took the correct route down and it was really steep and icy, be careful!

3 months ago

love it here so much

Was good bag to hike it with h snowshoes but ended up using micro spikes. A beautiful hike.

Though it IS a 'calve and thigh burner' this hike is still one of the easiest 5-6,000 footers around. Tough, short and sweet... more bang for your buck with a spectacular grandstand-view at the top which is most definitely worth a good hour pondering before heading back. As well as all the friendly people you'll encounter, you'll likely see the mountain goats. Give them a wide berth but enjoy their acrobatics.

If you're thinking about doing it, stop thinking. Leave behind anything that dings, rings or pings and just have at it. I had a chance to do this loop last month and it was completely worth every bite, bruise and blister I came back home with.

The traditional way to do this one is counter-clockwise, but we were unable to secure a backcountry permit early enough, so to stagger the campsites across the loop, the rangers gave us the option to do it in reverse. After reading up on this, a lot of backpackers mentioned that this is sort of a ‘hidden secret,’ so we figured why not. The one thing to note is that by doing it this way, there’s a lot more uphill in terms of length, so make sure to account for that time. We were essentially going uphill every day of the trip (the first 14 miles or so) except the final day, which was about 7 miles down, so if you do this the ‘right’ way, you get majority of the uphill out of the way on day 1. However, by doing it the ‘wrong’ way, the grade is not obscene and definitely handleable. Everytime you start to ‘dig deep,’ there’s something - whether it be a lake, a river, a vista - to help rejuvenate you for another push.

With that being said, there is no ‘wrong’ way.

Anyhow, after our final ‘real meal’ at the Springs Restaurant at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, we parked our cars at the end of the road, strapped on our packs, and into the thicket we go-eth.

The trail started off in the old-growth forest as we followed along Sol Duc River to our first campsite of the night about 5 miles in. The mosquitos were not shy, at all, so for the first time in my life, I had to throw on a mosquito net (trust me, this turned out to be an extremely necessary accessory for this entire trip and worth every penny of the 3 dollars it cost me…), fired up the MSR stove, inhaled a Mountain House Strogonoff, and passed out to the sounds of the river just yards from my head.

The next day was a wondrous burner. We spent the first half climbing out of the old-growth in the sub-alpine range, where we were treated to insanely gorgeous meadows dotted with streams and wildflowers, alpine lakes, and sun-drenched ridge lines laden with everything from elk to bears. We took this opportunity to wash off in the river, devour some calories, and fill up our water bladders (a good place to do so as the next water source is in the 7 Lakes Basin a good 6 or 7 miles away).

Once we made it through the meadow and up along the ridge, our timing could not have been more perfect. On one side, we had Mount Olympus and the snow-capped mountains surrounding it, slathered in ridiculous pink and blue and purple hues from the setting sunlight, and then, on the other side, being separated from a seemingly endless range of golden-sun-lit tree-covered mountains by nothing but a valley filled with shimmering alpine lake after lake. (I have a 360˚ photo on my blog, where I also have a much more detailed account of the entire trip, that you might want to check out: http://www.wasimofnazareth.com/blog/2017/9/10/my-olympic-national-park-z...)

Our campsite for that night was Silver Snag, which was situated right on the ridge-line overlooking Mount Olympus. This was too much! We woke up the next day to clouds covering much of the landscape, but got super lucky when she decided to indulge us for a few minutes by revealing her snow-capped face for a short peek through the cloud cover.

And she was glorious.

And then she was gone.

And that’s when the fog rolled in and it started to lightly drizzle. We figured we’d wait it out for a bit with a nap, but that was rudely interrupted by a family of mountain goats that, eh, look so cute and cuddly from afar, but, well, were quite the aggressive buggers. We were warned by the rangers and locals of their aggression, and were told everything from yell at them to throw rocks at them if they get too crazy. We kept scaring them away, but with each successful attempt to get them away from the campsite, they got bolder and angrier. Eventually one of us had to keep watch and scare them away, while the other two of us packed up camp (quick tip, use your tent rain fly and shake it in the air violently…that seems to do the trick, until they come back again, which they will. Oh they will…).

We continued on and as we began to dip into the 7 Lakes Basin, the fog began to slowly clear, revealing the surreal landscape before us…rolling hills with scattered lakes, both shallow and temporary ones formed by visible snowmelt, and deeper bodies of water that are more permanent features of the terrain. We spent the next few hours navigating the trails that snaked besides the lakes as we descended deeper into the valley towards Lunch Lake, our home for the night. Here, we were treated to a gorgeous scene as the rest of the fog cleared through the valley just in time to reveal a local deer population grazing just steps away from us as the sun set for the night.

The following morning was the toughest part

Went back in September and this hike was one of my favorites. The views at the top were amazing. If it's a hot sunny day, make sure you bring extra water because the majority of the hike has little to no shade.

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