ELWHA DESTINATIONS - WEST LAKE MILLS TRAIL...1.9 MILES
DIRECTIONS TO : LAKE MILLS TRAILHEAD - MILEPOST 239
NEAREST CAMPGROUND: Altaire/Elwha
RANGER STATION : Toilets (Ranger station, permit registration, pay phone and water located on Olympic Hot Springs Road).
INFORMATION ABOUT TRAIL :
VARIOUS COMMENTS.....This trail starts at the Lake Mills boat launch parking area and ends 2.0 miles later - one way. Easy day hike. This trail wanders peacefully along the west edge of Lake mills, with occasional views of the lake. Look for osprey.
Because the Olympic Mountains are dome-shaped, rivers fan out in every direction from the central peaks. The Elwha River flows in an approximate south-to-north direction, with its mouth on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, at Angeles Point. Its source is in the Elwha Snowfinger, between Mount Queets and Mount Barnes, flowing through the Elwha Basin and then turning north toward the strait. Along the way, it drops into narrow canyons, cascading through rapids, and then forming deep, quiet pools. What used to be a fine salmon stream is now fished only for trout.
Two dams were built before the national park was established, cutting off the salmon from their spawning waters. The Parks Service is now preparing to have the dams removed, and after much future public consultation and planning, the salmon will return. The lake now held back by the Elwha Dam is called Lake Aldwell. The reservoir impounded by the Glines Canyon Dam is called Lake Mills.
The section of the Elwha River above Lake Mills in Olympic National Park probably offers the most productive resident fishery for rainbow trout in western Washington; it is best after run-off, typically from mid-July into October.