Parts of the Elwha River area are OPEN for viewing
The largest dam removal project in US history began on the Elwha River in 2011, removing two, 100-year-old dams. The Restoration part of the project is underway and the Elwha River is flowing freely from its headwaters in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca for the first time in 100 years. With the dams gone, salmon and other migratory fish are returning to 70 miles of spawning habitat, bringing with them the promise of a restored ecosystem and renewed cultural tradition for the Lower Elwha tribe.
To witness some of Mother Nature’s magic, you now can visit Elwha River Restoration Viewpoints. In the above photo, there are two sections high above the river that remain for visitor use as viewing platforms. The one on the right is accessible now and after additional work, the left viewing area will be open later in 2015 when interpretive signs are installed and the parking lot is complete.
The former Elwha Dam (Lower Dam, as it was called)/Lake Aldwell lake bed and Glines Canyon Dam/Lake Mills lake bed sites, as well as Olympic Hot Springs Road are open to the public. The parking area at the former Glines Canyon Dam site remains closed; and the Elwha River and its tributaries within Olympic National Park are closed to all fishing. Boating is prohibited from Upper Lake Mills Trail to Altair Campground.
About Glines viewpoints — here’s a map of the access for both the Whiskey Bend Road (east) side and the Olympic Hot Springs Road (west) side. Both are open, but viewpoint and lake bed access is only available on the east side. Anticipated opening the western Glines viewpoint and lake bed access from that area is summer 2015.