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This map shows the former locations of the Glines Canyon and Elwha dams, both of which have been removed in recent years.
This map shows the former locations of the Glines Canyon and Elwha dams, both of which have been removed in recent years.

Looking for a road trip on this hot, sunny weekend in Western Washington? Olympic National Park has opened a new viewpoint where you can get a look at restoration of the recently undammed Elwha River and learn about the area’s history.

The new Glines Canyon Spillway Overlook, located along the Olympic Hot Springs Road, is wheelchair accessible and includes eight interpretive exhibits.

Perched on what was once the spillway of the Glines Canyon Dam, the viewpoint gives visitors expansive views of the wide valley that formerly held the Lake Mills reservoir.  Lake Mills formed when the Glines Canyon Dam was built between 1925 and 1927, flooding an area known at the time as Smokey Bottom. The overlook also gives the chance to look down at the Elwha’s blue-green waters flowing through the 200-foot deep Glines Canyon.

The overlook and surrounding area were designed and constructed by Olympic National Park employees, with contractors supplying the accessible restroom and new paving.  The eight interpretive exhibits were designed and written by Olympic National Park staff and tell the story of the dams, their contributions to Port Angeles and the factors that led to their removal and the ecosystem restoration.

Elsewhere in the Elwha Valley, the Altair Campground remains closed because of extensive flood damage sustained last winter.  The 4.5-mile gravel Whiskey Bend Road is closed to vehicle traffic due to a major slide. Pedestrian, bicycle and stock travel are allowed at this time.

The Olympic Hot Springs Road is open.  Area trails are open – hikers and stock users should check the park’s website for current trail conditions.