Olympic Hot Springs Road Closed
The Elwha Valley's Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed to public entry beyond the Altair Campground during removal of the Glines Canyon Dam. Olympic Hot Springs is not accessible from the Elwha.
Changes in Winter Activity Schedule Announced
Budget uncertainties lead to changes in visitor services this winter. More »
Settlement of the Hoh River Valley
Enormous, old-growth trees, thick, treacherous undergrowth, isolation from markets and other settlements; these were the challenges confronting settlers of the upper Hoh River area. Though land relatively far upstream of the river mouth were settled, the Hoh River Valley within Olympic National Park was never inhabited by Euro-Americans. In addition to regular flooding from 140 or more inches of precipitation per year, the Hoh River was swift, steep, and dangerous to navigate for early settlers.
Though times were tough and few settlers stayed very long, the population in the Hoh River Valley was great enough to warrant two post offices during the turn of the century, one of which was established in 1897, and the other in 1904, further upstream.
Homesteaders and timber claimants slowly trickled out of the area, leaving behind small cabins which deteriorated over time. Now there is little trace of their presence. In fact, as early as 1919, there were few historic structures remaining in the Hoh River Valley, none of which exist today.
Did You Know?
Fishers (members of the weasel family, related to minks and otters) were reintroduced to Olympic National Park in 2008-10. They are native to the forests of Washington, including the Olympic Peninsula, but disappeared due to overtrapping in the late 1800s/early 1900s and habitat loss.