The Cirque Rim Trail is a short, easy hike in the Hurricane Ridge area of Olympic National Park. For folks who are daunted by the length or elevation gain (or parking situation) of the Hurricane Hill hike, Cirque Rim Trail is the perfect alternative.
To acces the Cirque Rim Trail, park in the large lot next to the Visitor Center at Hurricane Hill. Then walk to the far end of the parking lot (farthest from where you entered). The trail starts on the opposite side of the road from the building.
There is a good chance of seeing wildlife in this area. We saw a pretty little black-tailed deer fawn and her mother in the trees. There are also Stellar’s Jays, Clark’s nutcrackers, and finches for the bird watchers. It is even possible that you can see something more exciting in the valley far below.
The Cirque Rim trail follows the rim of a large bowl as it arcs away from the Visitor Center. It is perfectly flat, and short, and though wheels aren’t a good idea on this trail, it is easy for anyone who can walk. You could even carry a small child in arms with ease. Much of the trail is paved, but not as we walked it.
As you get around the rim to the end of the trail, you have a few options. A left turn will take you on a longer, steeper climb to the top of an overlooking ridge called Sunset Point. It isn’t too long or difficult, but does climb a bit. A second trail will take you back to the opposite end of the parking lot from where you started. The third option heads back through the trees paralleling the trail along the rim. We took this trail back to the start, and this is where we came across the deer.
If you are spending time at Hurricane Hill, this trail is easy and appropriate for everyone. It provides great views and the opportunity to see animals. Add Cirque Rim trail to your Olympic National Park itinerary.