Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Olympic National Park Switchback Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(92)
Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park Switchback Trail is a 2.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Port Angeles, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

Distance: 2.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,450 feet Route Type: Out & Back

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

icy
snow
7 months ago

No faffs, straight to the top. Would highly recommend going the extra 0.8 miles to the very top in the direction of Lake Angeles.

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
snow
7 months ago

First Hurricane Ridge is only open on the weekends at this time of year. The road up to the trail parking wasn’t bad but you will want to take your time there was some icy spots. Now for the trail it was mostly snow covered and a little icy on the first part once you get above the tree line it’s snow and mud then it’s just all snow. Once you get to the top it’s all worth it the views are great.

hiking
bugs
rocky
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

They didn’t misname this one! It feels like the switchbacks will never end, but they’re never unbearable. Still wildflowers lining the trail and views most of the way. Pretty narrow, you’ll have to be creative on sharing the trail. From the saddle at Klahhane Ridge, you can see towards Port Angeles and Strait of Juan de Fuca on one side and into the heart of the Olympics on the other.

Tons of horse flies! No mountain goats. A little slippery on the way down.

Loved this hike for several reasons. First was the view at the top of the ridge = awesome. Snow-capped mountains on one side & the beautiful water view on the other. Second was that the hike to reach this view had to be earned via tough multiple switchbacks. IMO nothing beats a great ”view reward” after a challenging hike. Meanwhile, there were plenty of blooming summer flowers of multiple varieties along the trail to take my mind off the steady ascent. Plus, I loved how the distant mountain views slowly opened up as I steadily went up the trail. Finally, I liked that while there was heavy traffic heading to Hurricane Hill on the summer weekend I was there, this trailhead only had a few cars as it seemed to be a somewhat off-the-radar spot (but with a very visible trailhead). For what it's worth, I hiked on a clear, cloud-free day. I don't know if the hike would have been as rewarding for me if it was overcast with limited view.

hiking
11 months ago

Highly recommend this trail! It was not busy when we went on a sunny, Saturday afternoon. Didn’t see any goats, but did see multiple deer. The trails is a great workout and the views are amazing throughout! Would do this trail again!

hiking
11 months ago

Absolutely loved this trail!! Views are vast and incredible. From the summit you have a 360 def view. You can see Victoria, the Puget Sound, Port Angeles and the majestic Olympic mountains on the other side. We saw a six-point buck three times along the switch backs; he was super friendly and curious. We also saw a peaceful doe, eating. Didn’t see any goats. Went on Saturday 7/20 at noon, Trail was in great shape no snow, no mud, not rocky.

hiking
Sat Jun 15 2019

So, for whatever reason , I confused the Lake Angeles and Switchback trails... whatever. They both go to lake Angeles;)

hiking
Sat Jun 15 2019

Great exercise throughout, and gorgeous views. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Baker across the water, once you get to the top. There was still some snow near the top, in early June. Good sun protection is a must on a sunny day, as many parts of the trail are not shaded, especially along the latter part of the hike. The trailhead is located about 12 miles up from the Park entrance, before the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.

hiking
Fri May 31 2019

Incredible trail and the perfect trek for those who don't have time for a longer trail, but still want a workout and beautiful views of the Olympic Range. I believe we counted 28 total switchbacks, but I could be off by a few! Pack tons of water and be bear-aware. We saw a momma bear and her cubs at a safe distance, but I wouldn't want to run down the trails with a bear tailing me.

hiking
Thu May 30 2019

Hiked this trail late May, absolutely beautiful. Feels as though your hiking through the hills in the Sound of Music. Trail was in great condition, a little snow near the top. We were lucky to see a lot of wildlife on our hike, a black bear, two large mountain goats, and a marmot! All were incredible to see, but always important to air with extreme caution around goats and bears.

hiking
muddy
snow
Thu May 23 2019

hiking
scramble
snow
Fri May 17 2019

Great views the whole way for switchbacks. Short but steep, light snow and a little gnarly in a few places. Nothing too serious. Payoff at the top is insane.

Thu Oct 18 2018

Fun hike with constant switchbacks. Saw some deer along the way. Moderate to hard level. Great views. Recommend.

hiking
Tue Oct 16 2018

Great trail to get the blood flowing. Due to the shortness of the trail, this is a good choice if you want to get your heart rate up and have limited time. Views from the top are great when not obscured by cloud cover.

hiking
Thu Aug 23 2018

We hiked this trail today and then down the Klahhane Ridge Trail to Lake Angeles. It was a very challenging hike, and due to the smoke coming in from the forest fires, were not sure the difficulty was worth the pay off in views. I also found Lake Angeles itself to be underwhelming which was disappointing as it was the pinnacle of our hike. I definitely feel accomplished after finishing it, but disappointed that we saw no wildlife (animals) and few wildflowers. It was a quick trip into the park from our Airbnb in Port Angeles, which was nice

hiking
Sun Aug 19 2018

Love this hike! The views are amazing. We saw a lot of mountaingoats near the trail. And there was one on the end of the trail, super cool. The way up was easy but steep. The way down was al tough because of the loose sand. You need good walking boots.

Fri Jul 20 2018

Great trail, not too long but for sure a good workout. In total, took us about an hour and a half there and back, but taking our time up. The view is well worth it at the top! Saw a lot of goats from a distance. Working off of a mcl tear and going down is steep and a bit hard on the knees-wouldn’t suggest if you are fresh off an injury or struggle with balance!

hiking
Sat May 26 2018

The switchbacks were killer! You'll gain about 1,600 ft in a mile and a half. There were a few stream crossings and downed trees on the trail, but they were all pretty easy to get around. A lot of bear scat on the trail though, so I'd definitely watch for bears.

hiking
Fri May 25 2018

Lots of downed trees on the trail. Encountered a black bear sow and two cubs about 40 yards away where the trail starts to reach the clearing.

hiking
Tue Sep 05 2017

I don't know why the description says dog friendly This is NOT a dog friendly trail. There's a sign at the beginning that says no dogs.

hiking
Fri Jul 21 2017

So beautiful!

Showing results 1 - 23 of 92