West Elwha River Trail

MODERATE 25 reviews
#71 of 173 trails in

West Elwha River Trail is a 6.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Port Angeles, Washington that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and bird watching and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 6.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,243 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

walking

bird watching

forest

river

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

National Park entry fee required. Campground closed during winter and early spring. Park at gate and walk 0.25 mile to trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

As a local I hike this trail often. It’s a very nice easy hike along the river for part of the way. Not used much by hikers. Trail info is wrong. There is not a 1200’ elevation gain. It’s more or less flat. Under tree cover the whole way. Often see signs of bear activity—paw prints and scat. Start from Heddrick Road end of trail for easy access right at parking area. Hike south to end of trail at camping area. No dogs on this one.

hiking
muddy
private property
3 months ago

SO BORING. SO SO SOOOO BORING. The only good view you get of the river is at the end of the trail at Altair campground. The view is NOT worth the hike WHATSOEVER. You can seriously get the same exact view just driving up to it where everyone parks on the other side of the river up Olympic Hot Springs Road. The rest of Olympic HS road is washed out and closed after a certain point, so there is a make shift parking area where you are right at the river. I was expecting this trail to be along the river for the majority of the time because of the name, but it is not. You are basically going up and down in green shrubbery for 99.5% of the entire time. The greenery is beautiful, but after the first mile and a half in you are extremely bored and over it. The only reason I am giving it 2 stars is #1 the greenery in and of itself is beautiful and it isn't, for example, a cement road, and #2 it is shaded basically the entire way. I'm honestly astonished that this trail gets so many good reviews. Compared to all the other trails I've done in Olympic this was by far the worst. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME if you're here on a short visit.

hiking
private property
3 months ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
private property
5 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Completed this trail on 3/10/19- definitely still snow on the ground but the trail is easily accessible the entire time. We didn’t use poles but you may want them if there’s still snow. Lots of good forestry and beautiful sounds of the river during the whole hike. I’d like to come back again without snow. Lots of scat along the trail too

hiking
snow
9 months ago

Conditions 2/23/2019 Only hiked 2.8 miles due to the snow left from the epic snowfall of a couple of weeks ago. Most areas had a foot +, so was hard to walk through and starting to melt so will be slushy soon. Poles were helpful. The forest was beautiful, the river was clear and green blue and area peaceful. I'll revisit in the warmer months to try it again. The snowy forest and the Elwha River together are enchanting!

hiking
Sun Aug 26 2018

Well maintained trail and nice views of the Elwha river. The road to the trailhead was closed on the park side, so not many people seemed to use the trail. It was an enjoyable hike!

hiking
Mon Jan 29 2018

Beautiful moderate/easy hike. I brought friends who were new to hiking, they only wore keds, and while their feet were muddy and wet at they end, they were fine. But I recommend boots.. Hardly no incline, beautiful views of the Elwha river most of the way. Some downed trees and waterfall along the path you have to get past. Definitely make sure you park by the trail head. Which is located on Hennick Rd. I parked in what I thought was a parking lot but it was a locals driveway. He was nice about it but be cautious. The first .5 miles is on private land. It took me and my friends 3 hours to do the whole 6.5 miles, it was a very pleasant hike:).

hiking
Sat Oct 14 2017

Gorgeous, gorgeous hike. Parts of the forest are as quiet as you can find anywhere and the river! Definitely worth checking out, just don’t get stung by a yellow jacket like I did!

Sat Aug 26 2017

good trail watch on the way back some incline.

hiking
Fri Jul 07 2017

Great scenery but the trail was overgrown and there was stinging nettles. Wear pants.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

recorded Thomas Mountain Trail

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Sun Jan 28 2018

hiking
Sat Jan 27 2018

walking
Sat Dec 03 2016

Fri Aug 12 2016

Sat May 21 2016