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    West Elwha River Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    9.8 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    379 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The West Elwha River Trail is a lovely moderate walk alongside the river to the Altair Campground and back. This hike used to begin from the Olympic Hot Springs Road, but a severe washout has closed the road indefinitely. This guide uses the access at Herrick Road as the starting and ending point for the hike, making Altair Campground your turnaround point.

    Beginners and active children will be able to enjoy this trail.

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    Route Description for West Elwha River Trail

    The West Elwha River Trail is a beautiful moderate hike along the river that is suitable for most hikers and ages. Note that the Elwha area is currently closed to vehicle traffic beyond the Madison Falls parking lot at the park boundary due to severe road washout. The Olympic Hot Springs Road is open to bicycle/pedestrian traffic beyond the Madison Falls parking lot, but this trail is now best accessed from the opposite side on Herrick Road. For more information, please check with the National Park Service.

    Begin on Herrick Road at the new trailhead. You’ll begin by walking along private property, but you’ll soon dive into thick ferns and dense forest, which is fabulous. Watch for downed trees in the forest that may require a bit of climbing to get around.

    Walk alongside the river, taking care on any slippery and muddy sections of trail. While there is no direct river access from the campground site, you can explore further in this area quite easily. If this is your objective, turn around and retrace your steps back to the parking area

    Getting to the West Elwha River Trail Trailhead

    The trailhead for the West Elwha River Trail is on Herrick Road near the intersection with Wapiti Way.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Altair Campground

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    West Elwha River Trail Elevation Graph

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    West Elwha River Trail Reviews

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