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.
Elwha River Closures
Boating is prohibited on the Elwha River from Upper Lake Mills Trail downstream to the Highway 112 bridge, except for the stretch between Altair Campground and the Highway 101 bridge.
Changes to Visitor Services Due to Sequestration
Due to mandatory, across the board budget cuts, some visitor services at Olympic National Park have changed. See the Plan Your Visit section for more information.
Timeline of the Elwha Through 1940
25,000-10,000 years ago: The Fraser glaciation occurs and upon receding, the Elwha watershed is created.
Until late 1800's: The Klallam and other tribes inhabit a great deal of the northern Olympic coast and the mouth of the Elwha River, fishing, hunting, clamming and harvesting the lands.
Late 1800's: Port Angeles begins to grow as European-American homesteaders arrive and settle the peninsula.
1910: With financial backing of the Olympic Power Company created by Thomas Aldwell and investors, construction of Elwha Dam begins.
1912: First gravity dam blows as the reservoir fills. Thomas Aldwell receives more funding to rebuild dam.
1913: Elwha Dam becomes operational. Despite an 1890 state law requiring "fish passage wherever food fish are wont to ascend," the dam operates without providing for fish passage.
1915: When Washington State Fish Commissioner Leslie Darwin offers to waive the fish passage requirement, Aldwell constructs a hatchery adjoining the Elwha Dam. It was abandoned by the state in 1922.
1927: Glines Canyon Dam becomes operational. No method of fish passage is provided.
1935: U.S. Representative Monrad C. Wallgren sponsors a bill for the establishment of a national park on the Olympic Peninsula.
1937: President Franklin D. Roosevelt's visit to the area in the fall seals the effort for those pushing for establishment of Olympic National Park.
1938: Congress passes Rep. Wallgren's bill, and with the President's signature, 634,000 acres is designated as Olympic National Park on June 29, 1938.
Did You Know?
Olympic National Park protects the largest unmanaged herd of Roosevelt elk in the world. Olympic was almost named "Elk National Park" and was established in part to protect these stately animals.