Elwha River Trail

Elwha River Trail
Elwha River Trail

Trail Conditions
Special Concerns

General Location: 10 miles southwest of Port Angeles, WA.

Trailhead: Whiskey Bend trailhead


  • The Elwha River and its tributaries are closed to fishing.
  • For the most up to date information on obtaining a Wilderness Permit click here.
  • Due to a road wash out, there is no vehicle access past the Madison Falls Trailhead parking. Access to the trailheads beyond is only accessible via hiking or biking the road and adds an additional 7 miles to your trip to get to the Whiskey Bend trailhead.



Ecosystem type: Lowland forest, lowland river valley, montane forest
Trail tread types: Well-maintained
General elevation trend: Moderate
River crossings: The Elwha River must be forded at Chicago Camp en route to Low Divide. Always check conditions prior to your trip.
Unique features: Largest watershed in park, historic homestead cabins
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 28.4 miles to Low Divide.
Elevation change: 1,198 feet to 3,602 feet
Best Season: May through September. Snow may linger into July beyond Chicago Camp.


Food Storage Method: Bear canisters or bear wires. Bear wires for hanging food are located at Humes Ranch, Lillian Camp, Mary's Falls, Canyon Camp, Elkhorn, Hayes River, Camp Wilder, and Chicago Camp. Bear canisters are recommended elsewhere.
Campsites: Lillian River Camp, Mary's Falls Camp, Canyon Camp, Elkhorn, Hayes River Guard Station, Camp Wilder, and Chicago Camp
Toilet Facilities: Pit toilets are available at Lillian Camp, Mary's Falls, Elkhorn, Hayes River, Camp Wilder, and Chicago Camp. Otherwise bury waste 6-8" deep and 200 feet from campsites and water sources. Pack out your toilet paper.
Water Source: Elwha River and tributary streams. Always boil, filter or chemically treat your drinking water to prevent getting Giardia.
Stock: Allowed, see Stock Use.


Special Concerns

Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace during your stay to protect the resource and vegetation. Camp in established sites or on bare ground.
Campfires: To protect sensitive vegetation, campfires are not allowed above 3,500 feet.
Respect Wildlife: To protect bears and other wildlife, all food, garbage, and scented items must be secured from all wildlife 24 hours a day.



Snow can persist during winter and early spring months and can obscure the trail. River Crossings can be hazardous. Always check trail conditions.

Elwha River
24-mile Crossing
Hayes River Bridge
Hayes River Bridge

Jim Patterson

Last updated: October 20, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

600 E. Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362


360 565-3130

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