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Old 09-12-09, 10:04 PM   #1
BengeBoy 
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Ride report & pics: Hurricane Ridge...crossing another big climb off "the list"

My ongoing quest to ride all the "big" mountain climbs in the state of Washington took another step forward when I went up the 18-mile climb to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula (Washington state). I'd been warned by a couple of folks that it was a tough ride, and I'd have to agree that, other than some passes I've hit after lots and lots of miles, this was one of the more challenging climbs I've done.

To get out to the Olympic Peninsula for this ride from Seattle, one takes the ferry. I realized that I'd never taken my bike on my car on the ferry - normally I'm just riding the bike onto the ferry. Here we are on the 7:10 a.m. Kingston ferry:



I parked the car in Port Angeles, and started up the road to Hurricane Ridge. I'd been warned that the first part was the toughest, and I think it was. I was in my lowest gear (on my triple!) practically the whole time, just chugging up a chipseal road at 6 to 8 mph with nothing to look at but the trees on either side. Boring. After about 6 miles, I got in line with the cars to pay my $5 entrance fee to the National Park:



Another few miles and you start to get a view. This is looking back toward the coast line down at the bottom of the mountain - this view is toward the Northeast, across the Strait de Juan de Fuca. I think the point of land to the right is Dungeness (as in the crab).



There were three tunnels on the way up, all about 100 yards long, or a little longer. I had a tail light and a flashing headlight with me just to stay visible. No problem in the tunnels except each had a nasty little grate about 9 inches across with just enough space in the grate to catch a bike wheel. I slowed way down for those and made a mental note to remember them on the way down.



From around mile 7 to mile 12 the road is not nearly as steep. I probably rode at about 8 to 10 mph in this section, sometimes as fast as 11 or 12.

Then it starts to get steep again...the last few miles is climbing up a series of switchbacks. You can see the road in front of you climbing up and out of sight. But you can't really see the "mountains," just the road on the ridge in front of you, like this:




Then, when you're sick of climbing, all the sudden you pop over the top and you are on "the ridge," with this spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains:



How do I know they were the Olympic Mountains? Because your tax dollars paid for a sign to remind me:


Last edited by BengeBoy; 09-13-09 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 09-12-09, 10:05 PM   #2
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Obligatory shot of bike at the top (which is about 5,200 feet, according to a sign up there):



Obligatory shot of me + bike at the top. I'm very happy at this point because I had a chicken burrito, french fries, a Kit Kat bar and a Diet Coke at the visitor center gift shop. I'm wondering why after all the junk food I even bothered with the "Diet" part of the Coke...



Very fast descent - did the 18 miles down in 30 minutes. The sign here says 7% grade but I swear it was 17% on the way up.



There was a traffic jam of cruise ships leaving Seattle when we were on the ferry ride back from the Olympic Peninsula. Our ferry had to idle to wait for these two guys to pass. Looks to me like they are in a pace line, on their way up to Victoria/Vancouver/Alaska.




Nice ride, but a long day (it was about 2.5 hours there, 3 hours home). I hope to do one more mountain climb this season before the weather turns....

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Old 09-13-09, 06:41 AM   #3
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Incredible area, and a beautiful ride! Thanks for sharing! We tried to drive to Olympia in May, but the bridge was still closed across Hood Canal. The detour was too congested to attempt.

Have you done Rainier already? We drove through there thinking it would be an incredible bike ride.
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Old 09-13-09, 07:23 AM   #4
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You picked a great day for that ride, Steve.
Nice pictures, especially that one of the cruise ship paceline!
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Old 09-13-09, 07:56 AM   #5
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Have you done Rainier already? We drove through there thinking it would be an incredible bike ride.
I've done one ride in Rainier - the ride up to the Sunrise visitor center; it's a very popular ride for Seattle-area bikers (there is a thread on this ride in the PNW forum).

I've not done a couple of the other highlights of Rainier - the ride up to Paradise, Stevens Canyon, and Cayuse pass. Would still like to do a day of riding in Rainier this season if I can squeeze it in before cold weather hits.
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Old 09-13-09, 09:33 AM   #6
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Absolutely awesome man, great ride and pictures. Loved the cruise ship pace line...
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Old 09-13-09, 10:25 AM   #7
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I rode up that hill about 8-9 years ago.....but I was in a rental car!! What a incredible view at the top.

On the way down a momma bear and a couple cubs walked across the road........
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Old 09-13-09, 11:27 AM   #8
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Looks like you had good weather for it. My wife and I had the same magnificent view when we drove this in early July on our recent trip around the Olympic Peninsula.

So, why do they call it Hurricane Ridge?
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Old 09-14-09, 06:40 AM   #9
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Great report, great pictures. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-14-09, 08:52 AM   #10
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Looks like you had good weather for it. My wife and I had the same magnificent view when we drove this in early July on our recent trip around the Olympic Peninsula.

So, why do they call it Hurricane Ridge?
Go up there during some of the storms we get in the fall to spring and you won't have to ask that question.
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