This page is a Kaleberg report on Klahane Ridge, one of our favorite high country hikes. There are more Kaleberg reports on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Klahane Ridge

via the Switchback Trail

Klahane Ridge is one of the great climbs of Olympic National Park. It offers a good hard workout and stupendous views. On a clear day you see the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, the islands, Mount Baker, and the Cascades to the north and east, and the peaks of the Olympic Mountains to the south. En route, there are the hanging gardens, full of lupines, phlox, yarrow and dozens of other alpine plants. If you keep your eyes open, there are deer, marmots, mountain sheep, chipmunks and a host of butterflies to see.

The Olympic Mountains

The View South

Alpine Flowers

Pink Paintbrush


The trailhead is on the right hand side of Hurricane Hill road about a mile or so from the lodge parking lot. There is a parking area and a set of signs. There are no facilities, so you might want to drop in at the lodge and then take the trail on your drive down.

Mountain Sheep and Phlox

Mountain Sheep and Phlox

Outcroppings on Klahane Ridge


If you look closely at the hanging gardens you'll see dozens of different plants and flowers, all taking advantage of the brief growing season in the high country. There are lupines, paintbrush, yarrow, cow parsnip, avalanche lilies and a host of others.

Of course, you'll probably be rather breathless looking at the view. Save some awe for the ridge proper with spectacular views to the north and south.

Mount Baker from Klahane Ridge

Dungeness Spit and Beyond

Flowers on Klahane Ridge

The Alpine Garden

More Alpine Flowers

Lupines in the Garden

Fog and Wet on Klahane Ridge

A Rainy Day Hike

Even on a cloudy day this trail has much to offer. We've even climbed it in a light drizzle, and once, there were snow flurries on our descent.

Consider heading a bit further along the Lake Angeles Trail into the high gardens. It's another 150 feet of climbing, but after crossing the open face of the ridge one enters a series of closed alpine gardens. You can keep going down to Lake Angeles or even Heart of the Hills, but remember, you have to get back.

Clouds and Mount Baker

Clouds and Mount Baker in the Distance

Clouds from Klahane Ridge

A Sea of Clouds

Golden Marmot

Golden Marmot

Mountain Sheep

Mountain Sheep

Topographic Map of Rialto Beach

Click on this map for a TOPO map more context and scale information.

This trail map produced using National Geographic's TOPO program

Nuts and Bolts

  • Cartography - see the USGS topographic map to the left. It was generated by National Geographic's TOPO program, which is awfully handy.
  • This trail is generally accessible from as early as late June and as late as early November. The rest of the year it is covered with snow and the avalanche danger can be high. Take advantage of the season.
  • Here is the Kaleberg page describing this hike and other hikes up near Hurricane Ridge.

Kaleberg Notes

  • This hike is a good steep workout. You climb nearly 1500' in 1.6 miles. It usually takes us about an hour.
  • Make sure you take some water. The climb runs on the south face, and the high altitude dries things out quickly. Even the trail tends to be dry and sometimes a bit gritty and sandy. If you have hiking sticks, take them.
  • This trail can be beautiful, even on cloudy days. On some days, there are spectacular glimpses through the clouds, but there is always the haunting beauty and sense of boundless space.
  • Watch out for the sun. Even on gray days make sure you have your high SPF sun blocker on.




Panorama of Rialto Beach

This panorama shows the view from Klahane Ridge looking south and shows Mount Olympus and much of the Olympic range. Click on the image for a much larger view. The images used were taken by the Kalebergs and ineptly joined in Photoshop.

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