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Switchback

Olympic Peninsula

Location

Olympic Peninsula -- Northern Coast
View map below

Length

1.2 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 500 ft.
Highest Point: 5200 ft.

Rating

3.25 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 
 

The aptly-named Switchback trail provides a shortcut to Mount Angeles and views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Angeles, and the surrounding area, but it comes at a price. Just 0.6 miles long, it climbs 700 feet from the parking area (more of a pullout) on Hurricane Ridge Road to the junction with the Klahhane Ridge Trail, where four different destinations lie at your feet. 

From the parking area, set out on the Switchback Trail, perhaps pausing to read the interpretive sign at the trailhead. It's a relatively well-maintained trail, but any route this steep is going to be rough. 

Push through the first forested section of trail, and after about 0.3 miles, the woods break up and offer more views. Continue huffing and puffing your way up and up, until just another 0.3 miles later, you arrive at a junction. 

Here you have a choice -- head left along the Klahhane Ridge Trail, where eventually you'll arrive at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Or you can push on a further 0.8 miles (and 600 feet) to a junction with the Lake Angeles and Heather Park Trails. From that junction, it's 2.5 miles and 1400 feet down to Lake Angeles (which of course you'll have to make up on the way back) or it's 1.4 miles on a narrow, rugged footpath around Mount Angeles to Heather Park Camp. 

Either of these ways promise to be picturesque but challenging, and there is no loop option. As far as you go from this junction, you'll need to retrace your steps back down to the trailhead from where you started. 

 

Switchback

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.9866, -123.4609 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula -- Northern Coast

Olympic National Park

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Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Hurricane Ridge / Elwha North 134S

Getting There

From Port Angeles, drive to the Hurricane Ridge Road and head for Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. After 15 miles, look for the pullout for the Switchback Trail off to your right.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 

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