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Elwha River and Geyser Valley

Olympic Peninsula > Northern Coast
47.9676, -123.5824 Map & Directions
7.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
600 feet
Highest Point
1,300 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
View of the Elwha River from Long Ridge Trail. Photo by Kiloa. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Wildlife
  • Established campsites
  • Old growth
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Rivers

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
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Follow in the footsteps of the intrepid Press Expedition while enjoying the natural beauty, local history and wildlife along the Olympic Peninsula’s Elwha River. Continue reading

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Hiking Elwha River and Geyser Valley

Follow in the footsteps of the intrepid Press Expedition while enjoying the natural beauty, local history and wildlife along the Olympic Peninsula’s Elwha River.

In the winter of 1889-90, members of the Seattle Press Expedition set off to blaze a trail across the Olympic Mountains. The party spent the first part of 1890 exploring the Elwha River Valley. Today, evidence of the Press Expedition can still be found throughout the valley, both in blaze marks and the names of various natural features.

The whimsical name of Geyser Valley can be contributed to "Dok" Ludden, a gentleman who lived in the valley in the early 1900s and built a house in the valley to welcome all visitors. He observed the wind, blowing upriver on the Elwha, blowing the clouds into vertical shapes he called "geysers" and named the valley after this phenomenon.

Start from the Whiskey Bend trailhead and follow the wide and gentle Elwha River Trail through old-growth forest. At about 1 mile, a short side trail leads to the Eagle's Nest, an overlook of the valley below, and often a good place to see deer, elk and bears. Continue to the junction with Rica Canyon at 1.2 miles and descend towards the river bottom. Prior to entering the wide, flat stretches of Geyser Valley, take a short side trip to Goblins Gate, where the Elwha River crashes through a rocky gorge.

At 2.7 miles, stay right and travel through Krause Bottom. At 3.4 miles arrive at Humes Ranch. Located on a grassy bluff and constructed in 1905, the homestead was once inhabited by mountain man and wildlife photographer Herb Crisler. From here, descend into the grassy meadow below, then up to a junction with the Long Ridge Trail at 4 miles. A 0.6-mile side trip visits the Dodger Point Bridge, which crosses the river at the mouth of Convulsion Canyon, so named by the Press Expedition.

For backpackers, a more direct route to camping near Humes Ranch is reached by following the Elwha River Trail to the junction 0.3 mile past Michael’s Cabin. Turn right and descend directly towards Humes Ranch. Campsites are located below Humes Cabin in the grassy meadow and forest. Camping is also allowed near Krause Bottom.

Hike Description Written by
Kelsie Donleycott, WTA Correspondent

Elwha River and Geyser Valley

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.9676, -123.5824 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

Road Closed: The Olympic Hot Springs road is inaccessible to vehicles due to a washout. Hikers can still access this trail by walking or biking 6.2 miles one-way along the closed road from the Madison Falls parking area.

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Port Angeles, drive US 101 west to Olympic Hot Springs Road. Turn left and drive 4 miles to Whiskey Bend Road; continue another 4.2 miles to trailhead (the sign for the end of the road says it's 5).

More Hike Details


Olympic Peninsula > Northern Coast

Krause Bottom (#00), Geyser Valley (#00), Goblins Gate (#00), Elwha River (#00)

Olympic National Park

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Custom Correct Elwha Valley

Buy the Green Trails Hurricane Ridge/Elwha North No. 134S map

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Elwha River and Geyser Valley

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