• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

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  • Madison Falls Trail Closed for Repairs Beginning July 7

    The one-tenth mile Madison Falls Trail and trailhead parking lot located in Elwha Valley will close to public entry beginning on Monday, July 7 while crews make improvements and repairs.

  • Hurricane Ridge Road Closed to Vehicles Sunday 8/3 (6:00a - noon)

    Due to the "Ride the Hurricane" bicycle event, the road to Hurricane Ridge will be closed above the Heart o' the Hills entrance station from 6:00a to noon on Sunday August 3rd.

  • Spruce Railroad Trail Improvements to Begin August 5

    Spruce Railroad Trail will be closed from the Lyre River TH to approximately 0.25 miles east of Devil’s Punchbowl. Work is expected to be completed by the end of October. The remainder of the trail will be accessible from the Camp David Jr. Road TH. More »

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.

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

Did You Know?

snow covered forest and meadow

That endemic Olympic snow moles are scurrying beneath this blanket of snow? Olympic National Park's Hurricane Ridge is blanketed with over ten feet of snow for most of the winter, providing water for summer and protection for snow moles in winter.