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Elwah River, Port Angeles

#228 of 244 in Nature in Washington State
Water Body · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
The Elwha River is a 45-mile (72 km) river on the Olympic Peninsula in the U.S. state of Washington. From its source at Elwha snowfinger in the Olympic Mountains, it flows generally north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Most of the river's course is within the Olympic National Park.

The Elwha is one several rivers in the Pacific Northwest that hosts all five species of native Pacific salmon (chinook, coho, chum, sockeye, and pink salmon), plus four anadromous trout species (steelhead, coastal cutthroat trout, bull trout, and Dolly Varden char). From 1911 to 2014, dams blocked fish passage on the lower Elwha River. Before the dams, 400,000 adult salmon returned yearly to spawn in 70 miles (110 km) of river habitat. Prior to dam removal, fewer than 4,000 salmon returned each year in only 4.9 miles (7.9 km) of habitat below the lower dam. The National Park Service removed the two dams as part of the $325 million Elwha Ecosystem Restoration Project. Dam removal work began in September 2011 and was completed in August 2014. The river has already carried sediment to its mouth, creating 70 acres of estuary habitat at the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The first documented use of the name Elwha River dates to Henry Kellett's 1846 map.
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Elwah River reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
6 reviews
  • This is an interesting spot from where you can see the remains of the dam that used to be across the entrance to the canyon. It was built in 1927, but was removed in 2011 because of the damage caused....  more »
  • Drive along the river & stop to see where the dam once was. Then continue onto Whiskey Bend Rd. This is a one lane dirt road. There are several turn out areas if you meet on coming cars, but...  more »
  • It's a beautiful place, my Ex-Fiancee, love of my life :(, and I used to take long walks all around down here. Spending lots of time staring into each other's eyes watching our 4 dogs play in the water and run around the trails
  • Beautiful

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