Olympic Hot Springs access reopens in national park’s Elwha Valley

It’s easy access again to a highly popular Olympic National Park hot springs, as the Boulder Creek Trail and upper portion of Olympic Hot Springs Road in the Elwha Valley re-opened Wednesday. The road had been closed from above the Glines Canyon Overlook to the Boulder Creek Trailhead.

Olympic National Park road and trail crews completed the demolition and removal of the Crystal Creek bridge on Boulder Creek Trail and installed an alternate route and foot log at that location to restore access for hikers. The upper portion of Olympic Hot Springs Road had been closed since mid-May to accommodate construction equipment and vehicles.

From road’s end, it’s a 2.5-mile hike on Boulder Creek Trail to Olympic Hot Springs or nearby Boulder Creek Campground. The hot springs, composed of  21 seeps near Boulder Creek, vary from lukewarm to 138 degrees Fahrenheit.

Access for horses and other stock on Boulder Creek Trail will be restored later this fall after additional rock work is completed, according to the national park.

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Damage from a rock fall in the winter of 2014-2015 led to the closure of the Crystal Creek bridge. Further erosion resulted in increased destabilization. Inspection by federal highway engineers had determined the bridge was unsafe for pedestrian and stock use.

Permits are required for overnight camping in the Boulder Creek Campground. Campfires are prohibited at the camp area and at Olympic Hot Springs due to extensive damage by visitors and subsequent revegetation efforts. Pets and bicycles are not permitted beyond the trailhead.

For more information about backpacking and wilderness permits see www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-permits.htm or call Olympic National Park’s Wilderness Information Center at 360-565-3100. For current road and travel information, visitors may consult the park website at www.nps.gov/olym or call the recorded…

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