Obstruction Point Road

Obstruction Point Road

Obstruction Point Road is, probably, the Washington's scariest road. Located in the Clallam County, this groomed dirt road is Olympic National Park's highest elevation road. Although it is usually open from mid-July to October, the road is subject to weather and damage closures without notice.

This dirt road leads from Hurricane Ridge (5,242 feet above sea level) approximately eight miles east to Obstruction Point at 6,150 feet. After you've driven a couple of miles through trees, the road opens up, and you're driving along a ridge, with sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains out your windows. The road is narrow with steep drop-offs in places. Since it's a single-lane gravel path at points, the route gets a little hairy when you're trying to maneuver past an oncoming car. Lots of sharp rocks on road.
The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. Constructed in the 1940s, Obstruction Point Road is closed seasonally. Although it is usually open from mid-July to October, the road is subject to weather and damage closures without notice. It is closed whenever snow, which can occur anytime, makes driving hazardous. It is not uncommon to see drivers unable to maneuver due to oncoming traffic on this single lane dirt road with very few turnouts. This is for cars only and should be taken slowly and with safety in mind. This is a busy road on sunny summer weekends, and the parking area at the end fills up fast. So consider going on a weekday if you can, or going early in the day.

The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle, and in many places bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. Blind corners are common, so error on the side of caution while driving to and from your destination. With drops that appear to be hundreds, if not a thousand feet to the side, experienced drivers are the only ones who should attempt this route. It is best ridden after some rain has settled down the dust on the road though it can get very slick and treacherous after a heavy rain.

Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. The road is not suitable for RVs, trailers or motorhomes. It’s well graded. It is a typical back country 1.5 lane road, so keep your eyes open and watch for the slightly wider points. The drive will take some skill, some patience, and some tolerance for vertigo. The road often has steep drop offs where the shoulder should be. The view at the end of the drive is truly rewarding and also it is worth stopping at some of the nice viewpoints on the way. It has fabulous views into the high mountainous interior of Olympic National Park.
Pic: Yogy Namara

 

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