Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge will open for the fall and winter recreation season the day after Thanksgiving, the National Park Service announced Wednesday.
Both Hurricane Ridge Road and the recreation area are set to reopen Nov. 24 after “a year full of challenges,” NPS said. The area temporarily closed in October so crews could demolish and remove what was left of Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge, which burned in May while undergoing renovations.
Weather permitting, Hurricane Ridge Road is scheduled to open at 9 a.m. Fridays through Sundays through March 31. The road will close to uphill traffic at 4 p.m., and all vehicles must exit the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station by 5 p.m.
The road will also be open to visitors from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, on Jan. 15 and on Feb. 19. Hurricane Ridge Road will be closed Dec. 25.
Obstruction Point Road is closed to skiing and snowshoeing from Waterhole to the Obstruction Point Trailhead due to risks posed by wildfire-damaged trees, NPS said.
Deer Park Road and Hurricane Hill Road are also closed to vehicles.
During Hurricane Ridge’s yearlong closure, crews worked to tackle multiple construction projects, such as installing a restroom trailer and visitor contact station, which will be staffed Fridays through Sundays.
By opening day, crews will have also completed utility trenching and the demolition and removal of the Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge debris, NPS said.
“Park employees, contractors and partners have worked tirelessly to get this done. Thanks to their monumental efforts, everyone will be able to experience a full winter season on the ridge,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs.
Visitors should be prepared to use their vehicles as warming areas and pack extra food, water, dry clothing and blankets or sleeping bags. There will be no indoor warming area, food service, potable water or gear rentals available, NPS said.
Hurricane Ridge Road will close temporarily when the parking lot is full, and additional vehicles will only be admitted as space becomes available. NPS encourages visitors to park efficiently to maximize space.
All vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive, will be required to carry tire chains when traveling above the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station during winter.
At Hurricane Ridge, cross-country skiers and snowshoers can enjoy areas ranging from open, level meadows near the visitor center to extreme terrain in the wilderness backcountry. Visitors should be prepared for the possibility of avalanches in backcountry terrain, NPS said.
As soon as there is enough snow on the ground, rangers will also offer snowshoe walks at 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for up to 15 people. These walks last 1.5 hours, cover less than a mile and include 130 feet of elevation gain. Snowshoes and instructions are provided. Interested visitors should meet at the visitor contact station in the Hurricane Ridge parking area at 1 p.m. on the day of the walk.