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Hiking & Walking: Washington > Olympic National Park

Quick Facts

West Elwha River

Beginning Elevation: 400 Feet (124.7 Meters) Altaire Campground
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain, One-way: 200 Feet (62.3 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 600 Feet (187.0 Meters) Herrick Road
Length, One-way: 3 Miles (5.0 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 216 Olympic National Park
Recommended Season: Late Summer
Usage: Heavy in Summer
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Begin this hike at the trailhead in the northern portion of the campground. It leads northward, paralleling the river along a steep hillside. One and a half miles from the campground the route crosses Hughes Creek. After this crossing the trail descends 325 feet to the rivers edge. From this point the trail turns westward avoiding a bend in the river. The trail follows Freeman Creek for a short distance before crossing it and reaching the park boundary. Beyond the park boundary the trail enters private land and eventually reaches Herrick Road three miles from the trailhead.

Directions from Port Angeles: Follow Highway 101 westward approximately 8 miles to Elwha River Road, a.k.a. Olympic Hot Springs Road. Turn left and follow the river road southward into Olympic National Park. Three miles from Highway 101 you'll reach the Elwha Campground, continue past this facility to the Elwha Ranger Station. (Here you can obtain trail conditions and camping permits.) Beyond the ranger station veer right as the Whiskey Bend Road leads to the left. Follow this road a short distance to the entrance for Altaire Campground. Park in the campground day-use parking area and begin this hike from the trailhead at the northern end of the campground.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through October (NOTE: Snow may cover the trail from November through April. Check conditions at Elwha Ranger Station before beginning your hike.) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Trailhead Parking West Elwha River Trail - Altaire Campground
ICON Camping West Elwha River Trail - Altaire Campground
ICON Fishing West Elwha River Trail - Elwha River, Hughes Creek
ICON Hiking & Walking West Elwha River
ICON Plant Identification West Elwha River Trail

Related Activities
Altaire - This facility consists of 30 individual campsites that can accommodate trailers up to 21 feet. It is open during seasons of high visitation.

Elwha - This facility lies in the lower Elwha River valley and is open on a first come, first served basis year round.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Olympic National Park, 600 East Park Avenue , Port Angeles, WA, 98362-6798, Phone: 360-452-4501


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