The hike to Klahane Ridge starting with the Switchback Trail can be a challenge, but a most rewarding one. The trail starts at a pull out along Hurricane Ridge Road, about ten minutes below the lodge. It starts steeply following a small creek. If you study the moist rocks by the trailside you might see butterworts, carnivorous plants, that prey on insects. The spikes with blossoms growing from the bogs are bog orchids, the source of that sweet smell. The trail heads into the umbrella forest where the unstable ground has turned the bases of the trees so they are as warped as umbrella handles.
The climb starts steep, and it stays steep, even as one leaves the forest for the hanging gardens, thick with alpine and sub-alpine flowers. The succession is much like that at Hurricane Hill, with the sweet scented phlox early, the lupines and paintbrush later, then the harebells and yarrow later. As one climbs the plants change as one walks back in time. The trail follows switchbacks, even after it merges with the trail from the lodge around 600' about the parking lot. Around one thousand feet above the parking lot, the distant Olympic Mountains start to rise above Sunrise Point. From here on, the view goes from amazing to spectacular to whatever comes after spectacular.
At the saddle of Klahane Ridge, a 1450' climb from the parking lot, the view opens north. You can see the peak Mount Angeles to the west. There are sometimes golden marmots and sometimes mountain goats. Beware of the latter as they can be killers. The trail followed the south face of the ridge, so by summer, most of the snow has melted, but the valley north is often still snow covered, and snow lingers often into September.
If you are still energetic, there is also the "kick in the ass". Continue east along the ridge on the trail to Lake Angeles. The trail crosses the open face and ascends another 150', then it leads one into a series of rooms each more magical than the last. They are carpeted with flowers and adorned with aged wood and weathered stone. Continue a bit farther and there will be a side view of the great bowl to the north of the ridge with Mount Angeles across the way.
TIME: Allow at least an two hours for the round trip to the ridge. Add another hour if you go for the "kick in the ass".
NOTES: Steep trail. Bring water.
Time: 2:00; with the "kick in the ass" 3:00
Driving time from Port Angeles: 0:45
Admission: ONP admission required
Facilities: None, cell phone coverage on the ridge, but probably Canadian, so turn off roaming