• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 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.

The Fraser Glaciation

An aerial photo of gravel bars along the Elwha River

An aerial photo of gravel bars along the Elwha River including Krause Bottom and present day Humes Ranch

NPS

The Beginning:
During the Fraser Glaciation, which occurred between 25,000 and 10,000 years ago, sheets of ice up to 5,000 feet thick covered current day Elwha area. Though it is uncertain as to how the area looked prior to the glacial retreat, striations in bedrock and deposited boulders give a clue as to the approximate path by which the ice moved.

As the glaciers receded, they carved through the land, creating troughs between the mountains and leaving behind streams from which water flowed in route to the ocean. When the ice retreated from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, fish began to recolonize the 70 miles of pristine aquatic habitat which was named the Elwha by the native inhabitants of the land who came many years later.

 
undefined

This webpage was made possible in part by a grant from Washington's National Park Fund.

Did You Know?

Mossy trees in the Hoh Rainforest

...that one criterion for the determination of a temperate rain forest is that the amount of moss and other epiphytes exceeds the weight of all the foliage (leaves and needles) per acre by at least two times.