• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Spruce Railroad Trail Closed from Lyre River Trailhead to Devil’s Punchbowl

    The trail will be closed for improvements 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 »

  • Safety Advisory: Mountain Goats

    NPS has received reports of aggressive mountain goats near trails at Hurricane Ridge, Royal Basin, Seven Lakes Basin, Lake of the Angeles, & Grand Pass. Visitors are required to maintain a distance of at least 50 yards from all wildlife. 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?

rocky beach

Olympic National Park protects 73 miles of wild Pacific coast. Tidepools, sandy beaches and rocky cliffs can all be found here.