Elwha Brochure

Many of the activities and sights described on this page may be difficult to access due to road damage and closure to vehicle access. Please check current alerts and Day Hikes chart below for more information.

A Salmon Homecoming

For millennia, the Klallam people relied on fish nurtured by the Elwha River watershed. That relationship was largely severed in 1913, when the Elwha Dam was built, blocking fish runs five miles from the river mouth. Glines Canyon Dam was completed upstream in 1927. Though a state law required fish passage, both dams were built without it. Thousands of salmon no longer reached most of the Elwha valley.

But in 1992, Congress passed a law requiring restoration of this watershed and its fish, and authorizing dam removal. After careful planning, both dams were removed by 2014. Within months of dam removal, salmon were spawning in the park for the first time in 100 years! Look for them as you explore this wilderness valley. Or stop by the Glines Canyon Spillway Overlook to learn more of the story and witness how revegetation crews and nature are greening the exposed sediments of the drained reservoir. The Elwha River Restoration story continues...

Elwha Area Information

Facilities: Elwha Ranger Station: (Unstaffed- no visitor facilities/restroom)
Picnic Areas: Madison Falls: tables, accessible vault toilet. Elwha Ranger Station: tables 100 yards past ranger station. (Pack in/pack out, no trash receptacles)
Regulations: Pets and bicycles are not permitted on trails (exception: bypass trail around road washout. Please walk bicycles on the trail).

Day Hikes Around Elwha

Trail Description Miles Elevation Change
Madison Falls Wheelchair accessible, paved trail to a 60 ft. waterfall. 0.1 one way 46 ft.
**NOTE: The road washout adds varied mileage to all trails below. One way distances are now 1.8 mi to the unstaffed Elwha Ranger Station; 2.3 mi to Altair Picnic Area; 6.5 mi to Whiskey Bend Trailhead and 7.8 mi to Boulder Creek (Olympic Hot Springs) trailhead. It is 20.4 miles round trip to Olympic Hot Springs, no longer a day hike.
Cascade Rock Ascends through forest with a spur trail to valley views. 2.1 one way 1,256 ft.
Griff Creek Ascends through forest to views of the valley 2.8 one way 2,841 ft.
West Elwha Along forested west bank of Elwha River to Herrick Rd. 3.2 one way 221 ft.
Humes Ranch Loop Forested trail to a 1905 homestead. Shorter options loop via Krause Bottom or Goblin Gates. up to 6.5 loop up to 665 ft.
Elwha-Hurricane Hill Climbs steeply through forest to Hurricane Hill. 6.2 one way 5,305 ft.
Wolf Creek Climbs to subalpine meadows near Hurricane Ridge. 7.9 one way 3,837 ft.
Smokey Bottom Winds through forest above former Lake Mills. 1.9 one way 18 ft.
Smokey Hill Steep descent to the Elwha River above former Lake Mills. 0.5 one way 400 ft.
Boulder Lake Steady climb through forest to a sublapine lake. 5.9 one way 2,505 ft.
Olympic Hot Springs/ Appleton Pass Hike 2.5 miles (173-foot gain) to unmaintained hot springs, or continue climbing to a mountain pass. 7.7 one way (to Appleton Pass) 3,321 ft.

Last updated: July 12, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

600 E. Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362


(360) 565-3130

Contact Us