Olympic National Park: Day Hike to Klahhane Ridge from the Switchback Trail

day hike to klahhane ridge from the switchback trail

the rundown

Distance: 5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1,700 feet

Trailhead: Switchback Trailhead

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. 

planning your hike to the klahhane ridge

Are permits required? Yes. Olympic National Park entrance fee, $20 (good for 7 days)

How to get to Olympic National Park and the trailhead: Olympic National Park is located on the Olympic Peninsula about two hours west of Seattle. You can reach the Klahhane Ridge via four different trails but the most direct, and the one we hiked, is the Switchback Trail which is located on Hurricane Ridge Road (Click HERE for directions).

When to go: June - October. 

Gear to Pack: 

personal trip report

date visited: 9/4/16

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!