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Switchback Trail

Difficult

Trail

1.5 mile 2.4 kilometer point to point
50% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,421' 433 m
Descent: -13' -4 m
High: 5,867' 1,788 m
Low: 4,446' 1,355 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 18% (10°)
Max Grade: 32% (18°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Megan W

This is an exposed, no nonsense grunt up to the spectacular Klahhane Ridge.

Megan W

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Runner Notes

The aspect is south facing, so snow melts here earlier than other trails.

Description

There are several ways to reach Klahhane Ridge, but the Switchback Trail is the shortest and most efficient. It is very steep and without much shade, so be prepared. This challenging climb begins its ascent immediately from the Switchback trailhead parking lot off Hurricane Ridge Road. Initially, the trail passes through dense dark conifer forests and crosses several streams. To stay on the Switchback Trail, keep right at the intersection with the Mount Angeles Trail. Shade provided by tree cover decreases the higher you go.

Continue to navigate the steep switchbacks, climbing the southern flank of Mount Angeles towards Klahhane Ridge. Admire the mountain's striped layers of sedimentary rock made from lava. The trail hugs the base of improbably colored basalt towers. The Switchback Trail ends upon reaching the junction of Heather Park Trail and the Klahhane Ridge Trail. From here you'll already be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of the Olympic Peninsula in all directions.

Flora & Fauna

Mountain lion, black bear, bobcat, [sometimes aggressive] mountain goat, marmot, deer.

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Aug 26, 2019
Joe Robinson
Trail is indeed aptly named for its endless switchbacks! Total mileage listed here includes a fair bit of additional hiking/running up on the ridge 5.1mi — 3h 37m

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 6 votes

#7018

Overall
  4.2 from 6 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
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3 Star
33%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#335

in Washington

#7,018

Overall
31 Views Last Month
2,069 Since Mar 19, 2015
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Photos

Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) on Olympic National Park Switchback Trail
Mar 24, 2015 near Port An…, WA
Helpful sign!
May 3, 2015 near Port An…, WA
Descending from Klahhane Ridge via the Switchback Trail.
Sep 9, 2019 near Port An…, WA
One of several deer found on the trail Saturday afternoon.
Oct 9, 2017 near Port An…, WA
Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) on Switchback Trail to Klahhane Ridge
Mar 24, 2015 near Port An…, WA
The road as it winds down the hill.
May 10, 2018 near Port An…, WA

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