Elwha Valley

Olympic National Park

Port Angeles, Washington

Olympic Hot Springs Rd, 11 W of Port Angeles off Hwy 101

The Elwha Valley is a minor area in Olympic National Park, but it is currently undergoing a major transformation. Construction began on the Elwha Dam in 1910, resulting in the creation of a reservoir, Lake Aldwell.

But the dam didn't account for salmon runs, blocking 65 miles of habitat rivers and creeks and reducing the salmon runs by 99%. It also blocked the sediments that used to wash downstream and out to sea that used to replenish the Ediz Hook sand spit that created the harbor at Port Angeles.

The dam was demolished in 2012 although restoration work continues, including managing the outflow of the sediment that had built up behind the dam. At this writing parts of the area are off-limits to visitors due to safety concerns surrounding the restoration site.

olympic national park elwha valley madison falls

Madison Falls (O14A0309)
Madison Falls is a small, easily accessed (short, paved trail) waterfall near the entrance to this part of the park.

olympic national park elwha river

Elwha River (O14A0320)

More About Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park encompasses a number of features of the northern Olympic Peninsula, including the Olympic Mountains, a large temperate rain forest on the western slopes, and a rugged strip of the Pacific Coast. Much of the park is roadless, prime wilderness hiking ground. Day visitors often head to Hurricane Ridge, Marymere Falls and the area around Lake Crescent, the Hoh Rainforest, Quinault and the coast at La Push and Rialto Beach.

Related Sights

You may also like these Olympic destinations:

Nearby Sights

While you're in the area, check out these sights:

decorative image copyright notice