Hike to Klahhane Ridge from the Switchback Trail

Date Hiked: 9/4/16

Distance: 5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1,700 feet

Trailhead: Switchback Trailhead

Permits: Olympic National Park entrance fee, $20 (good for 7 days)

After Alex and I returned from our hike to Toleak Point we drove back to Port Angeles. We weren't sure how we were going to spend the afternoon. We had originally planned on doing another overnight backpacking trip (this one outside the park) but by the time it came to drive to the next trailhead we both gave each other a look that said it all. We just physically could not complete a hike that had a 3,000'+ elevation gain with our overnight packs on after everything we had just done. So we made a new plan: we would stay in Olympic National Park and hike to Klahhane Ridge. This wasn't an easy hike but we didn't need to take our overnight bags and we had a hotel bed to look forward to at the end of it. 

There are a few ways to reach Klahhane Ridge but the most direct is via the Switchback Trail. As the name implies, the Switchback Trail is steep and full of switchbacks. The trail begins gaining elevation immediately and rises 1,500' in the first 1.5 miles. While our hike on the coast was sunny the Hurricane Ridge region of the park was overcast. As we ascended clouds began to form above and below us, which made for some stunning sights. 

At 0.6 miles and 700 feet we reached a junction: to left was the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and to right was our destination, Klahhane Ridge! After ascending another 1,000' we finally found ourselves on the ridge, but we couldn't see much. We arrived at the ridge only to be completely surrounded by clouds moving quickly through the valleys beneath us. 

We waited on the ridge, watching as the clouds rolled by and intermittently gave us brief glimpses of a panoramic view of the Olympic Peninsula. 

Finally, we began the hike back down. The sun was beginning to set and we still had to hike down and drive 2 hours to our hotel in Seattle, and we were exhausted from the previous days' hikes. 

The Klahhane Ridge continues towards Angeles Lake and next time we visit I would love to continue the hike and see the lake from the ridge!