The Elwha River has been getting a lot of press lately. It is the site of one of the largest dam removal projects to date. Salmon runs are returning in numbers (miles and miles of recovered salmon breeding habitat), the delta is being rebuilt and numerous species (including bears and birds) are benefiting from the decaying salmon carcasses.
The section shown here is between the two dams that were removed (the Elwha Dam below this point and the Glines Canyon Dam above).
There is a nice rocky knoll about 1.5 miles in from the trailhead of the North Fork Skokomish river trail (Olympic National Park). I have hiked the trail around a hundred times, I suppose, in all kinds of weather, in all times of the year. My favorite spot for lunch is this knoll … although the quality of the view is now being reduced due to the growth of trees in the previous slide area. This was part of the area of the Beaver Fire in the late 1980’s (you can still see some of the resulting snags) … and the slides the following winter/spring wiped out additional areas that didn’t burn. The slides did create some views that are now going away … it’s worth it, but the views will be missed.
The image above shows the North Fork Skokomish river just above the Staircase area in the Olympic National Park. If you look closely, you can see the bridge that runs across the river … providing access tof the Staircase Loop Trail. This is a very wide angle lens … which causes the curvature distortion. The image below is taken from the bridge looking further downriver.
At the bottom, a section of the North Fork Skokomish trail running through Maple Flats, about 6 miles up from the Staircase area.
I have posted several images of hikes along the Dosewallips River trail in the Olympic National Park. Here are a few more images that I enjoy and thought I would share. The first (above) shows the trail above the old Dosewallips Campground (below) … now isolated by about 6 miles by washout of the road. Hiking the (closed gravel) road is a different experience than the lovely trail shown above. The bottom image shows the river dropping down the steep rapids (falls) just below the campground … the highlight of the road hike.
One of the most heavily hiked trails in the Olympic National Park is the High Divide trail. The High Divide is a section of the ridge between the Sol Duc and Hoh Rivers. Overnight reservation permits are required and get booked up months in advance.
The first section of the High Divide loop follows the Sol Duc River Trail and then heads up along Bridge Creek (which is not easily accessible at most locations). The image above shows the trail climbing from Sol Duc Park to Heart Lake (shown below). I have hiked the trail to Heart Lake several times without continuing along the rest of the High Divide loop. The reasons to do so usually involve weather … or, early in the season) lots of snow left on the ridgeline.
The trail to Heart Lake climbs up into and through some of the finest samples of mountain meadows in the Olympics. (see above) There are many small streams, keeping the flowers well watered and providing a water source for thirsty hikers.
On the return, it is worth the short side trip to Sol Duc Falls (shown below).