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 HomecomingFor 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. Hike to the Glines Canyon Spillway Overlook to learn more of the story and witness how revegetation crews and nature have greened the
exposed sediments of the drained reservoir. The Elwha River Restoration story continues.
Elwha Area InformationFacilities: River changes have washed out Olympic Hot Springs Road about one mile south of the park boundary—NO VEHICLE ACCESS BEYOND MADISON FALLS TRAILHEAD
Hikers, bikers, and stock—detour the washout via 0.8-mile bypass trail intersecting Cascade Rock trail to reach the road beyond the washout, additional information available on area bulletin boards
Restrooms: Accessible vault toilet at Madison Falls trailhead.
Picnic Areas: Madison Falls trailhead or Altair.
Regulations: Pets and bicycles not permitted on most trails but welcome on bypass trail and roads.
Day Hikes Around Elwha
Last updated: October 28, 2021