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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

November 3, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Olympic National Park opens new viewpoint on dam-free Elwha

This August 2014 photo shows the last section of the Glines Canyon Dam before its recent removal from the Elwha River. (Steve Ringman photo/The Seattle Times)

This August 2014 photo shows the last section of the Glines Canyon Dam before its recent removal from the Elwha River. (Steve Ringman photo/The Seattle Times)

Both dams are gone from the Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula, and in Olympic National Park a new accessible parking area and viewpoint opened Friday to give the public a better look at the free-flowing river.

The 10-space parking area and viewpoint can be reached by following the gravel Whiskey Bend Road about one mile south from its intersection with the Olympic Hot Springs Road.

“We are very pleased to invite people to experience Glines Canyon from a new perspective,” Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said in a written release.  “The dam’s east abutment now provides an excellent viewpoint, where people can enjoy views of the canyon, river and former lake bed.”

The abutment, completed in 1927 as part of Glines Canyon Dam, also provides a glimpse into the history of the dam itself, providing a view of the former dam’s spillway and west abutment.

A 0.3-mile trail, built by the Elwha revegetation crew, leads from the parking area to the former lakebed.  To help users avoid sinking into the fine muds of the old lakebed, the crew reinforced the path with metal walkways. Park officials caution that the walkways become slippery when wet and urge that visitors stay at least 20 feet from the river and steep banks that are subject to rapid shifting.

The Olympic Hot Springs Road remains closed to all entry at the gate just above Altair Campground.  Crews are currently making repairs to the Olympic Hot Springs Road and anticipate re-opening the road to the Boulder Creek Trailhead by the end of November.  Although the road and trailhead access will be open, the Glines Canyon parking area and former boat launch will remain closed while park crews continue to make safety and visitor-access improvements.

Comments | More in national parks, Olympic National Park | Topics: Elwha River, elwha valley, Glines Canyon Dam

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