Hike to Klahhane Ridge (Switchback Route)

Switchback Trail, Port Angeles, Washington, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1700 Feet

Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains. Wildlife – Goats, birds, marmots, deer. Wildflowers galore. A challenging yet rewarding 5-mile hike. Elevation gain 1700'Duration: Day hike (3 hours).

Hiking to Klahhane Ridge is a rewarding experience that provides you with sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains. Further access to overnight opportunities is possible if you venture beyond the summit trail. Here’s the scoop:

Get an early start. There is a decent amount of parking available at the trailhead, but the lot can easily fill up during peak summer months and on sunny weekends. Starting early allows you to witness critters roaming around before they hide from the midday heat.

The Switchback Trail is the shortest route to the top and climbs 1500 feet in just 1.5 miles through dense forest that eventually opens into an expansive high-alpine meadow. Strands of colorful wildflowers line the trail including magenta paintbrush, broadleaf lupine, and Jacob's ladder. This approach is steep, rigorous, and seems longer than 1.5 miles, but the steep grade will eventually subside after taking a right at the Lake Angeles trail junction. Make sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during this arduous ascent. For the number lovers: 1500ft/7290ft = 18.93% grade for the first 1.5 miles.

Encountering mountain goats is highly likely on this trail. Be sure to keep a safe distance, as they have injured and even killed hikers in the past. They are generally not aggressive animals but will protect themselves when provoked.

Upon reaching the ridge you will likely be greeted with a refreshing breeze. On a clear day, Klahhane Ridge offers 360-degree views of the entire Olympic Peninsula. Look even further and you spot Vancouver Island to the north and Mt. Baker to the east. Definitely bring a camera to capture the stunning views! After completing the hike, don't forget to continue up the road to check out the visitor center at Hurricane Ridge.

DIRECTIONS: From Port Angeles leave US 101 near milepost 249, following Race Street south 1.2 miles to Hurricane Ridge Road (Heart o' the Hills Parkway) and passing the Olympic National Park Visitors Center and Wilderness Information Center. Proceed on the Hurricane Ridge Road for 14.8 miles to a small parking lot for the Switchback trailhead on the north side of the road.

LODGING/CAMPING: There are plenty of camping locations near Klahhane Ridge, and hotel accommodations can be found in Port Angeles.

GENERAL NOTES:
  • Pets are not permitted on this trail
  • Mountain Goats, Black Tailed Deer and Olympic Marmot frequent this area. Do not disturb wildlife as it is illegal and will result in severe fines and legal action
  • A National Parks Pass is required to enter Hurricane Ridge

Passes can be obtained at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles and day use passes can be purchased at the Hurricane Ridge Entrance Kiosk on Hurricane Ridge Road.

Pack List

  • Lots of water - Camelback and/or Nalgene(s)
  • Camera (tripod optional)
  • Hiking shoes
  • Snacks or a picnic lunch for the top
  • Trekking Poles (Optional for the steep walk down)
  • Sunglasses & Sunscreen
  • Moisture wicking layers, water and windproof layers
    v Headlamp (if after dusk)
  • Olympic National Park vehicle pass (Annual pass: $30…. Single visit: $15 (pass good for one week)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

Even under (and over) a thick layer of clouds this hike was gorgeous. It's a workout and the views won't come easy but they are well worth the effort! I would recommend budgeting extra time to explore the ridge once you're there.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Lots of options to extend this into a longer hike once you get to the top of the ridge. Definitely start early if you're doing this during the summer as the hike up is on the south side of the ridge so expect to be baking in the sun on the way up if you start later in the day. Overall, a good workout and well-earned views of the Olympics to the south, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Dungeness Spit to the north, and, if you're lucky, views of the North Cascades and Baker to the east.

about 3 years ago
about 3 years ago

Stephen Bellrichard

Outdoors > Indoors. Enjoys photography, skiing, and exploring of all kinds.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

6 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves