West Elwha Trail


Obtain your Wilderness Camping Permit at the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles, year round.

Check with USFS for Elwha River road status


Ecosystem type: Old growth Forest, river valley
Trail tread types: Maintained
General elevation trend: Flat
Unique features: Views
Level of difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.0
Elevation change: 400 ft. to 600 ft.
Best Season: All year
Connecting Trails: Stand alone trail


Lowland forest, lowland river valley. Largest watershed in the park, historic cabins. Region has well maintained trails with moderate elevation trends. Historic homesteads and meadows; opportunities to view deer, elk and bear. Region includes Boulder Lake in the Northwest Elwha region. It is a subalpine lake basin. The river contains exotic trout. Fishing is allowed. A unique feature of this region is the Olympic Hot Springs.


Permits/Reservations: Obtain permits at the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles. No reservations necessary.
Food Storage Method: Bear canisters are required in the subalpine high country where food cannot be hung at least 12 feet high and 10 ft. out from the nearest tree trunk.
Campsites: Altaire/Elwha
Toilet Facilities: Toliet in campground, bury waste 6-8" 200 ft from water sources and campsites. Please pack out toilet paper.
6 miles from trail head along Olympic Hot Springs Road
Water Source: 6 miles from trail head along Olympic Hot Springs Road
Stock: Allowed, check stock regulations. See Stock Use .

Special Concerns

Leave No Trace: Leave No Trace of your stay to protect vegetation and prevent further camping regulations. Camp in established sites or on bare ground.
Campfires: To protect sensitive vegetation, campfires are not allowed above 3,500 feet. Leave no trace of your fire ring. Burn dead and down wood only.
Respect Wildlife: To protect bears and other wildlife, all food, garbage and scented items must be secured from all wildlife 24 hours a day. Bear canisters are recommended in this area.


Always carry the 10 Essentials: map, compass, flashlight, knife, matches, nylon cord, extra food and water, and raingear with warm clothes.
Map & compass navigation skills may be necessary in places along this trail. Snow may cover higher reaches of this trail in any season, so know how to navigate without a trail for guidance.
Let someone know where and when you are taking your hike. Make emergency plans for them to follow if you do not return.
Watch the weather before and during your hike. Storms move quickly. Whiteouts are sudden. Read the weather forecasts, but remember to read the weather in front of your face.
Snow When traveling on snow, bring an ice axe and know how to use it.

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