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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
The Olympic Hot Springs Road reopened to vehicles today. The road is open as far as the Glines Canyon Overlook. The Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed just above the Glines Canyon Dam due to snow and ice; the Whiskey Bend Road also remains closed due to these conditions.
“We are very pleased to welcome visitors back to the Elwha Valley,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Restoring vehicle access has been a long and arduous process for our staff and I am proud of the work they have accomplished.”
The Olympic Hot Springs Road has been closed since late November 2015, when a series of severe storms brought heavy rain and flooding to the Elwha River. Approximately 90 feet of roadway was washed out and additional sections were eroded and damaged by flood waters at that time.
Olympic National Park crews installed a temporary bridge last summer, in hopes of reopening the road in fall. However, an October storm event lead to increased activity in a side channel of the Elwha and intermittent minor flooding of the road just upstream of the new bridge. The road remained closed to allow park staff to monitor and more fully evaluate the frequency and severity of any flood events.
Monitoring of the road and side channel and analysis of long-term weather patterns indicates that the road may now be opened to vehicles. In the event of heavy rains or high river flows, water may flow over the road. During last week’s storm series, water flowing over the road surface reached about two to three inches in depth.
“We urge all park visitors to be informed and prepared before entering the more remote areas of Olympic National Park,” said Creachbaum. “Especially during the winter months, people should check the current weather forecast before heading into the park.”
The Elwha campground is closed indefinitely due to severe flood damage. The Altair campground was destroyed by flooding and will be re-opened as a day-use area.
Current information about Olympic National Park Road condition is available at 360-565-3131. For information about visiting Olympic National Park, people should visit nps.gov/olym or follow the park on Twitter @OlympicNP, on Facebook at OlympicNPS and Instagram @olympicnationalpark, and subscribe to the park’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/olympicnationalpark