The aftermath of a tough winter can be seen throughout Olympic National Park, but officials say most of the park should be accessible for visitors during the coming Memorial Day Weekend.
Damage from a particularly nasty storm in December still evident throughout the park, and some park destinations remain closed.
"After the tough winter and late spring we’ve had, we’re pleased to have nearly all of our roads and campgrounds open for Memorial Day,” says the park's acting superintendent, Sue McGill. “There is extensive damage to park trails and trail bridges, as well as deep snow, so we strongly urge all hikers to use extra caution and to check with the Wilderness Information Center before setting out.”
Here's a look at current conditions across the park:
Hurricane Ridge Road
Weather and road conditions permitting, the Hurricane Ridge Road is open daily for the spring and summer season, although nearly ten feet of snow still blankets the Ridge.
Major reconstruction is underway on the Hurricane Ridge Road and will continue through November. Visitors should expect delays of up to 20 minutes and up to four miles of unpaved road, along with one-lane sections and construction equipment at work. Bicycles are prohibited from using the road during the construction period.
Visitors should call the park’s road and weather hotline at (360) 565-3131 for current Hurricane Ridge Road conditions.
The Heart O’the Hills campground is open.
The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is open, with exhibits and restrooms available. The snack bar and gift shop will be open daily beginning this Friday, May 23.
Deer Park Road
The Deer Park Road is scheduled to open for the summer on June 13. However, this year’s snow pack at Deer Park is 166 percent of average; heavy snow and a late spring melt may lead to delayed openings for some high elevation roads, including Deer Park, Obstruction Point and the Hurricane Hill Road.
The Dosewallips Road remains closed because of a washout outside the park boundary.
The Staircase Road remains closed. It sustained major damage during the December storm, both within and outside of the park boundary. Staff from Olympic National Park continues to work closely with Olympic National Forest personnel to reopen the road in time for the summer season.
All roads in the Elwha Valley are open. The Elwha Campground is open; the Altair Campground will open on May 23.
The Humes Ranch loop trail is cleared of downed trees and has been re-routed around the winter’s washouts. The Boulder Creek trail has continuous snow above 2,200 feet; over a foot of snow remains on the ground at the Boulder Creek camping area.
All roads in the Lake Crescent area are open, as is the LaPoel Picnic Area. The Fairholme Campground is open.
The Spruce Railroad Trail and Marymere Falls Trail are cleared of downed trees.
Log Cabin Resort and Fairholme General Store will both open for the season on Friday, May 23. The Lake Crescent Lodge is open.
Sol Duc Valley
The Sol Duc Road and Sol Duc Campground are open.
The trail to Sol Duc Falls is open and snow free, although continuous snow begins just beyond the falls. Fifteen to twenty feet of snow is reported at Heart Lake.
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is open.
Olympic’s road-accessible coastal destinations (Kalaloch, Mora, Ozette) are open, including all roads, campgrounds and trailheads. Hikers should check with the Wilderness Information Center for current trail and tide conditions.
The Kalaloch Information Station is open Friday through Tuesday, 9:00 – 5:00 p.m. and will be open daily beginning in mid June.
Kalaloch Lodge is open.
Hoh Rain Forest & Forks Information Center
The Hoh Road and campground are open. The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. beginning this Thursday, May 22.
The Park and Forest Information Center in Forks is open Thursday through Monday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and will be open daily beginning in mid June.
The Hoh River Trail has been cleared of downed trees as far as the Olympus Guard Station.
The Lower Queets Road is open seven miles to Matheny Creek. A new access route into the Upper Queets Valley is also open. Both roads are clearly marked at their intersections with Highway 101.
The Queets Campground is open.
Quinault Rain Forest
The Quinault Loop Road, which includes the Quinault North Shore and South Shore Roads, is open.
The North Fork Road and North Fork Campground are open.
The North Fork Quinault River trail was extensively damaged by winter storms and is impassable beyond Wild Rose Creek.
The Graves Creek Road is open to foot, stock and bicycle use only due to damage from the December 2007 storm. Floodwaters severely damaged the Graves Creek road in three locations along its six-mile length and this road will remain closed to vehicle use throughout the 2008 visitor season. The Graves Creek campground is open; no potable water is available.
Park Trails & Wilderness Information Center
Most of the park’s wilderness remains covered with 10 to 15 feet of snow; little is known about the level of storm damage beneath the snow.
Most low elevation trails are open and have been cleared of downed trees.
Even at low elevations, hikers are urged to use caution and to be prepared for downed trees, areas of trail damage, and high, swift creek crossings, along with changeable weather conditions.
The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC) is open daily from 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and will be open extra hours for the holiday weekend on Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24 when it will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Visitors are urged to stop by or call the WIC at 360-565-3100 for current trail reports, spring hiking safety tips and trip planning suggestions.