Hike the Elwha River with us for a year-round adventure!
Imagine hiking on a culturally and historically significant river with a knowledgeable guide who was once a member of the Elwha River Wildlife Research Team. Adventure Elwha River hikes can be modified from easy to challenging by adjusting length and elevation gain. Unlike the Elwha Dam Removal Tour, your adventure Elwha River hike will focus more on hiking and less on visiting multiple sites related to dam removal. However, we can certainly discuss Elwha Dam removal and the resulting restoration while hiking. The entire ecosystem is in process of transforming thanks to the input of salmon and movement of sediment and woody debris.
Check out local rate information on Olympic National Park guided ecotours or explore other Elwha River hiking and dam removal tours
April - May Elwha River hikes
Elwha River hikes in the spring (April and May) is a great time for wildflowers, migrating birds, and wildlife (especially Roosevelt Elk and maybe Black Bears too). You do not need to worry about Grizzly Bears on our Elwha River hikes because they are not found on the Olympic Peninsula. As days lengthen and it starts to warm up, banana slugs, amphibians, snails, and insects start to emerge. Migrating birds like Orange-crowned Warblers populate leafing-out deciduous trees, and flowers like the diminutive Calypso Orchids bloom next to the trail.
June - August Elwha River hikes
A hiking adventure during the summer (June to August), is an excellent choice for berry foraging and amphibians when venturing on Elwha River hikes. There are so many excellent berries for the choosing: Salmonberries, Thimbleberries, Salal Berries, Blackberries (both native and introduced), Strawberries, Black Raspberries, and Huckleberries. This is not something you should venture to “try” on your own so having an ecologist along is a great introduction to Pacific Northwest edible berries. Additionally, June and July are great months for viewing amphibian life cycles in small ponds created by the Elwha River
September - October Elwha River hikes
If you plan your hiking adventure on the Elwha River in the fall (September and October), you are in for treat. During September, we can watch Pacific Salmon exploring parts of the Elwha River for the first time in 100 years. Learn to view and find a redd and watch an adult salmon defend it! While we are sitting still and watching the salmon, it is not uncommon to see other wildlife, such as an American Dipper. October is prime time for colorful and diverse mushrooms and although caution should be observed, chanterelles can be collected under the knowledgeable watch of your naturalist guide.
November - March Elwha River hikes
An Elwha River hike in the winter (roughly November to March) should lead to a true wilderness experience. It is unlikely that you will encounter anyone except locals if you venture out at this time of year. The forest is alive with moisture and active moss and lichen coat all surfaces like a luxurious carpet. This is also a great time to observe Roosevelt Elk because they do not hibernate (like bears) and mill around in the lowlands without threat of predators to keep them on the move.