Ride The Hurricane
Olympic Mountain Range
I first heard of Hurricane ridge on a day trip to Seattle years ago. My buddies and I were pondering on the beautiful views from Kerry Park, looking over Puget Sound.
Mt. Rainer rising above the clouds to the west, bigger than anything I've laid eyes on before. And to the east, a snowcapped mountain range I was not familiar with, towering above the sea like a wall protecting nature's hidden gems.
As the curious cat, I am, I got busy discovering the area using my two favorite tools, Ride With GPS and Google maps.
I also found out that Ron, from OMTM, Had a route built there leading up to Obstruction Point (read about that here), So that pretty much solidified my plans to venture out there and ride up to Obstruction Point.
The Olympic Mountain Range is home to Hoh Rainforest, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, and countless other places. It is the most mysteriously beautiful place I've been to.
That part of Washington deserves a solid 10 days exploring around the area, and that might not even be enough to scratch the surface.
Hurricane Ridge to Obstruction Point
It took me a while to build the fitness I needed to climb up the ridge. I didn't necessarily train for it. I just took my time riding as much as I could around Oregon before venturing across the Columbia River.
The photo on the left was taken in 2018, and the one on the right in 2021.
The first time I road the ridge was in 2018, on a solo trip up to Deer Park camp and Port Angeles. That trip was so good; I had to do it all over again, this time with friends!
Here's an outtake of the sun rising over Mt. Garibaldi across the Salish Sea on the Canadian side, a video I shot on my first trip to the area.
Still jaw-dropping, 4 years later.
In July 2021, I set on a road trip across six states in my DIY camper, starting at the Olympic Mountain range in Washington.
It was also a proper shakedown for Sukho to test out the new custom-built rocketship that he got from the one and only Bradford Smith.
I couldn't ask for a better sendoff for my trip.
What makes this ride unique, aside from vistas, micro-climates, old-growth, and history, is beyond what words can describe.
I think of this ride as two different rides in one. The first ride is a climb, and the second is a descent.
The climb is remarkably unique from the descent, in terms of everything!
Starting at the bottom of the ridge alongside the coastline of Port Angeles to the top is a great option to experience the change in fauna, flora, temperatures, and views a mile at a time.
I mean, it's barely enough to put into perspective the magnitude of this climb. It is the literal meaning of sea-to-summit.
Climbing up this giant ridge is the easier part. I didn't pay attention to the grades or seek out the summit. Instead, I immersed myself in what was around me and got into this state of automation in some sense.
You know, when your mind and body just separate, you're not thinking about every pedal stroke or gear shift; your body got that down.
I get lost in the trees with the wind in my ears in this state, and views like these (pictured below) always stop me in my tracks.
Sukho, Dustin, and I just tucked in and kept on grinding up the hill.
The ride up to the visitors center, atop of Hurricane Ridge, is a great warmup for what comes in the next 8 miles up to Obstruction Point.
In Ron's own words:
OBSTRUCTION POINT MIGHT POSSIBLY BE THE MOST SPECTACULAR EIGHT MILES IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.
And I couldn't agree more.
I wouldn't have driven 4+ hours oneway from PDX for a 60-mile ride if it wasn't damn good, like blow-you-away good.
Ron hit the nail on the head with this one.
A quick break at the visitor's center before dropping into the gravel road on the side of the parking lot. The drop is steep and rocky, hence why Ron recommends 38+ tires. It's worth dragging them up.
The Chunder Splunder is real up there.
The 8 miles stretch to Obstruction Point is somehow not only harder than the climb up to Hurricane Ridge but even more grande!
The sheer drops into the valley, wind and gravel shaking your brains all culminate into an experience that can only be described as EPIC.
Both hands on the handlebar, butt slightly hovering over your saddle, knees bent, and a smile on your face.
Taking it all in.
I'd say this is an accurate description of all the OMTM rides I've done over the years.
The road to the second summit slowly rises above the treeline, bends, and twists alongside patches of towering Evergreens and hidden pockets of snow that were left behind from the winter.
Obstruction Point doesn't live up to its name. Alongside the last stretch up to the summit are views of Victoria Island across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. And on a clear day, I bet you can see the mountains all way in BC.
Truly unique to this region.
Reaching Obstruction Point is not even the cherry on top for this ride.
The climb is worth every foot of elevation and mile over the 3 hours it took us to get up there. It feels great being on top of the world (at 6100' at least!), but how about a 6000ft drop over the next 30 miles?!
I'm that guy who climbs all day so that I can tuck in and bomb down a massive hill. I would do it twice if I had the legs!
The funny thing is I keep telling myself that I'll be responsible on the descent, but there's something that just takes over me as soon as the grades get into the negatives...
The first time I descended this ridge, I had to take a break to shake off my hands a bit. It takes a while to get down that hill, which is twice as rewarding as going up it, methinks.
If you haven't already seen Dklein's video about this ride, I highly recommend you do! Dustin did a fantastic job covering the whole thing, as he usually does!
Hurricane Ridge and Obstruction Point are legendary and splendid in every possible way, and y'all should put that on your bucket list of rides.
After the ride, we were lucky enough to find a campsite at Heart O' the Hills Campground, so we chilled there for the night, and man, we needed that.
Sukho and Dustin truly set the bar high for this road trip, and it was hard topping that. I'm so lucky to have friends like them, honestly.
Chilling around the fire talking about the ride and eating pasta with these two dudes meant the world to me. And I can't wait to do it again soon.
That road trip will forever be the closest to my heart. It was bittersweet, getting to visit places I've been to and others I haven't, knowing that I might never get another chance to see them again.
So I made sure not to take any second of it for granted, take in all the feels and truly live in the moment.
It'll be hard for me to relive and remember these memories, but I want to share them with you in the same order over the next few months. Starting with Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and back home to Oregon.
There's so much to be shared!