Olympic National Park‘s 4.5-mile Whiskey Bend Road, on the east bank of the Elwha River, is closed after the first mile due to a slide and extensive road damage, park officials reported Monday.
Heavy rains and high winds earlier this month resulted in a slide that destroyed more than 50 linear feet of the roadbed and reduced the road’s width to less than a travel lane. The road remains open to pedestrian use; hikers should use caution in crossing the slide area.
Along that road, motorists may access the Glines Canyon parking area, with access to the east abutment overlook, but vehicle access is closed beyond that. A timeline for reopening the road has not yet been established; park crews are working with road engineers to develop a repair design and schedule.
On the river’s western bank, the Olympic Hot Springs Road is open to the trailhead but may close temporarily in the event of snow, ice or fallen trees. While the road itself is open, the Glines Canyon area along that road, including the parking area, dam abutment and spillway, and access road to the former boat launch, are closed because of unsafe conditions and ongoing construction on the river’s west side. This area is closed to all entry, including pedestrian access. It is expected to open this summer, when construction is complete and safety facilities are installed.
The Elwha Campground is open for primitive camping throughout the winter. There is no potable water available at the campground, but vault toilets are provided. The Altair Campground is closed for the season. Floods and heavy rains in December caused significant damage to the campground road and several campsites, but the campground is expected to open in time for the summer season.