Elwha River

Port Angeles, Washington 98362

Elwha River

Elwha River Professional Review and Guide

"A 29-mile backpack from the Whiskey Bend trailhead to the upper Elwha Basin or Low Divide. This trail penetrates deep into the heart of Olympic National Park, following a valley
bottom with a grade gentle enough for novices. In 1889–90 an expedition of fools and drunkards organized by the Seattle Press newspaper used this route to cross the Olympic Mountains, a journey that took them almost six months.

The same trip can now be completed in a single week by an experienced backpacker. Watch for the rare and colorful harlequin duck and the tiny water ouzel amid the churning, turquoise waters of the Elwha River."

Elwha River Reviews

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Hit the trail at 8:45 cool weather and a nice hike to Mary's Falls. I'm not in great shape; 55 pound pack with waders,boots,and fly fishing gear did slow me down, but all steep parts of the trail came with a nice easy grade to catch my breath. Thought about a break longer than just water but did not need it .Mary's Falls camp sight was right on the river flat and smooth.The 2 guys tnat showed up Sat. pointed out the OUTHOUSE by the main trail off to the left .My thanks to them;A seat beats a hole in the dirt back in the brush. the bear wire is close to the camp sight and I found can still let squrials have a snack . Nice little hole in a new stuffsack :( Lots of deer right in camp most nights.Fishing was great.All fly fishermen and women said big and bushy flys was the way to go,but I found a very long leader and a small #18 Coper John did the trick just at dusk.Can't wait for the wife to let me do this trip again. P.S some yellow jackets at camp' some one siad alot of them along the trail and at camp in Aug.
This is a great beginner trail or even one to take the kids on, the trails are wide and dry with some interesting sights along the way. I guided a trip through the Elwha in march, I would not recomend doing the same though. The conditions were quite soggy, One necessary trick that made all my clients jealous was my lightweight umbrella. AHH I stayed mostly dry during the days on the trail by rigging the umbrella to cover my body and most of my pack. Start at wiskey bend and hike the 2.6 miles to Humes Ranch; an old homestead. I would then recomend you camp the next night at the Elkhorn rangers station there is plenty of room to spread out and the views are wonderful. We chose to day hike up to Hayes River rangers station during an off day. Another option would be a day hike up dodger point for a glimpse of mount olympus.
This was a fun and easy hike that can be turned into a nice loop by heading down to the river 1.2 miles from the trail head on the Rica Canyon trail. Be sure to check out the Goblins Gate. Stay on the river for the next couple of miles and you will come to the old Humes Ranch. About 1.5 miles further upstream is a bridge that crosses the Elwha River. This is a great picture spot. To finish the loop, go back to Humes Ranch and go right (uphill) at the junction. From here its a straight shot to the trail head.

Elwha River Photos

Trail Information

Port Angeles
Nearby City
4,085 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
200 feet
Trailhead Elevation
3,580 feet
Top Elevation
Olympic National Park, permit required for backcountry camping
Local Contacts
USGS Hurricane Hill, Mount Angeles, Mount Steel, Mount Christie; Custom Correct Elwha Valley
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018