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November 9, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Visit national parks for free this weekend

National parks around the country are waiving entrance fees this Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 11-13.

Even with dam removal under way on the Elwha River at Olympic National Park, most roads and campgrounds in the park remain open. Exceptions include Deer Park and Obstruction Point roads, which are closed for the season, and the Sol Duc and Elwha and Whiskey Bend roads, which are closed for repairs.

To have a look at the work under way taking out Elwha Dam, try a hike on the overlook trail built just for that purpose.

The Elwha Dam Overlook Trail can be reached by taking Highway 101 west from Port Angeles. At mile 242.5 turn onto Highway 112. Take this road 0.7 miles, and just before reaching the Elwha River bridge turn left (south) on Lower Dam Road, which is also the turn for Elwha Dam RV Park. The entrance to the construction site is straight ahead, and the parking area for the trail is to your immediate left. The first 200-yard section of trail, constructed by Clallam County, is wheelchair accessible and leads to a partial overlook of the dam site. As you approach this first overlook, you will see the start of a 1/4-mile footpath to your left. This trail was built by a Washington Conservation Corps crew and leads to an overlook of the dam and the lower reservoir.

For a taste of what awaits you, take a peak at the webcams on the project.

It’s amazing how much the landscape has already changed. Contractors have even moved the entire Elwha River to the opposite channel:

Web cam photo capture of Elwha Dam from this morning.

Hurricane Ridge Road is open as weather allows.

The fee free visit applies only to entrance fees. Charges for camping, reservations, tours or concessions still apply.

To help plan your visit, at Olympic, visit the park’s blog on dam removal for up to date closure information and the park’s website.

Comments | More in Government | Topics: Elwha Dam, hike, Hurricane Ridge

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