Klahhane Ridge via the Switchback Trail
Olympic National Park, WA
Klahhane Ridge in Olympic National Park boasts panoramic views over snow-capped mountains. If you are up for a challenge, Klahhane Ridge is a good alternative to the more crowded Hurricane Ridge. There are two possible hiking routes up to Klahhane Ridge: one starting from the Cirque Rim Trailhead at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and one starting from the Switchback Trailhead. The first option is longer (7.2 miles roundtrip) but the elevation gain is gentler. Klahhane Ridge via the Switchback Trail, shown here, is much more direct (3.4 miles roundtrip) but rapidly gains elevation on a series of switchbacks that take you right up the mountain face.
The Switchback Trailhead is located before the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in a small parking lot about 9.5 miles from the Heart O the Hills Ranger Station. At peak times this parking lot can fill up, so try to arrive early or late in the day. A sign marking the trailhead tells you to watch out for mountain goats that have been known to follow hikers and campers.
The ascent to Klahhane Ridge takes you almost 1500ft in just 1.7 miles. When you reach the top, you have the option to extend the hike further by following the ridge. In fact, many people keep going all the way down to Lake Angeles where there is a campground. Even if you stop when you reach the top, you will still get fantastic views. On a clear day you will be able to see Mount Olympus on one side and the town of Port Angeles on the other.
Click on the camera icons on the map below to see pictures along the route.