Outdoors

Much of Whiskey Bend Road closed in Olympic National Park

A slide and extensive road damage caused by heavy rains this month have forced the closure of the final 3.5 miles of Whiskey Bend Road on the east side of Elwha River inside Olympic National Park.

Motorists may still drive the first mile of the road to the Glines Canyon parking area, with access to the east abutment overlook, but vehicle access is closed beyond that point.

Heavy rains and high winds earlier this month resulted in a slide that destroyed more than 50 linear feet of the roadbed and reduced the road’s width to less than one lane, park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said Monday. The road remains open to pedestrian use, but hikers should be careful crossing the slide area.

Maynes said the park does not yet have a timeline for reopening the road as park crews are working with road engineers to develop a repair design and schedule.

On the other side of the Elwha River, the Olympic Hot Springs Road is open to the trailhead, weather permitting, but may close temporarily in the event of snow, ice or fallen trees.

While the road itself is open, the Glines Canyon area including the parking area, dam abutment and spillway and access road to the former boat launch are closed because of unsafe conditions and ongoing construction, Maynes said. This area is closed to all entry, including pedestrian access. It is expected to open this summer, when construction is complete and safety facilities are installed.

The Elwha Campground is open for primitive camping throughout the winter season. There is no potable water available at the campground, but vault toilets are provided. The Altair Campground is closed for the season. Floods and heavy rains in December caused significant damage to the campground road and several campsites, but the campground is expected to open in time for the summer season.

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