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Olympic Peninsula, Wa

The End of the Olympic National Park’s Enchanted Valley Chalet

An Iconic Chalet in the Olympic National Park Will Soon be Washed Away


UPDATED: 3/21/2014

OFFICIAL NATIONAL PARK PRESS RELEASE: http://www.nps.gov/olym/parknews/enchanted-valley-chalet-march-2014.htm


The historic Enchanted Valley Chalet. NPS photo taken March 12.

The historic Enchanted Valley Chalet. NPS photo taken March 12, 2014


Built in 1930 and 1931, the Enchanted Valley Chalet has stood on the banks of the mighty Quinault River, adding a level of awesomeness not seen in the Olympic National Park. While other shelters remain all around the region, the Enchanted Valley Chalet is one of the iconic images of the most awesome spot in this gorgeous valley.


The 2 ½ story chalet, located right along the river has an incredibly rich history. From being used as a hangout for early hikers to being a WWII aircraft lookout station, the chalet stands in a beautiful valley with waterfalls pouring down steeps slopes all around. Active with bears, deer, elk and hikers, the chalet is one of the most iconic images of backpacking trips in the region. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007, and soon it will be washed into the Quinault River.


Image from the Facebook Page of Walks with Moss. Please Click for Link!!

Image from the Facebook Page of Walks with Moss. Please Click for Link!!



The Chalet, located on the banks of the Quinault, has been slowly getting more and more at risk each year. What started as a few hundred feet of a buffer between the river has now shrunk to less than two feet. With the rushing waters of the river carving out the banks, the chalet’s foundation is now just 18 inches away from the river. That means that as of right now, the chalet could get swept downstream at any moment.


It will be a sad day when the chalet is no more, and hikers and backpackers everywhere should hold on to their memories of this awesome house in the middle of the most amazing waterfall valley in the country. The Chalet was the last stop in my first ever backpacking trip, wrapping up the best week of my life. back in the 1990’s, I fell in love with nature because of the chalet and the Enchanted Valley. I was hoping to take my children there someday, but it appears as if the forces of nature will destroy it before I get the chance. The valley will eventually return to being a valley with no chalet, and part of me is sad about this. I know I will pay my respects when I can, and I encourage all of you to do the same.





Most Recent Pictures: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1118789


Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enchanted_Valley_Chalet


More Images: http://www.johnathanwhite.com/backpacking%20trips/enchanted%20valley%20apr-2005/enchanted%20valley%20apr-2005.htm



Good Bye, Old Friend…

We will miss you.

We will miss you.





Directions: http://goo.gl/maps/9ZdtO

Distance:28 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 2500 Feet





Quinault Area Easy Day Hikes: http://bit.ly/1cZljf4
Explore the Quinault Loop: http://bit.ly/1fTYGFg




22 Responses so far.

  1. Butch says:

    This is sad, also very unnecessary as this historic building could be saved without using machinery but the park service would rather see it gone than use logic.
    Sad, sad, sad.

  2. David Galyean says:

    Hi Author,

    I would like to indicate HOW SAD it was for me reading about my beloved grandpa, Glenn L. Criswell, originial builder of this Log Chalet!!!!!!! I am only solo grandson he ever had in his lifetime because among other grandchildren was all female.

    One thing what I would like for State Park Rangers to do my Criswell Families (Mother’s father’s side of families) a favor by saving all furniture, applicances OUT of this house at all cost if possible to keep it for memories of Glenn Criswell making them out of hand himself in 1930.


    David Galyean
    18111 Forstrom Rd S.W.
    Rochester, Wash 98579

  3. Dennis R. Cihak says:

    Hiked into the Enchanted Valley many times while living on the Olympic Pennisula. First time in the late 60’s while stationed at the Naval Facility at Pacific Beach. Then numerous trips with family and friends from the mid 70’s to early 90’s. Great memories from me and my children and some of my grandchildren. Good bye old friend.

  4. Benjamen Perry says:

    Another historic landmark falls victim to the bloated bureaucracy that is the federal government. Sad, but not at all surprising. I grew up in the Quinault Valley and still consider it home. I listened to stories my father told of hiking into the valley with his friends and staying in the chalet back in the 60s. Then the Park Service flexed their muscle and booted all but the ranger out. Now the final nail will be placed as the chalet is allowed to crumble into the water and wash downstream.


  5. Cheryl Eberwein says:

    Saddened to hear that is awesome building will be gone soon. I have taken pictures of this Chalet on one of that last hikes I ever went on. So beautiful..What a loss it will be..The Valley won’t be the same with out it..I think enough people should ban together and save it..Miracles can happen..

    • Rod Farlee says:

      David Galyean, be advised that the National Park Service did remove all the furniture, hand-crafted in 1930-31 by your great- and grandfathers, Tom and Glenn Criswell. It was all placed in a container, lifted out by helicopter in 2005. To inquire if it might be viewed, suggest contacting NPS Cultural Affairs Office 360-565-3053 in Port Angeles.

      Of all these historic artifacts, the Chalet itself is by far the most significant, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors to the Chalet in the 1930s, including famed photographer Asahel Curtis, popularized the scenes, the wildlife, the glaciers… and in no small part led to the creation of Olympic National Park in 1938.

      And it might not take all that much more effort to save the Chalet than was invested in saving its furniture… if only for a time, years, perhaps decades? But that is true of us all, is it not?

      • ExoticHikes says:

        Excellent comment. Thanks for the insight!
        Hopefully, we can get this thing saved. Though the weather this week doesn’t bode well for keeping the river under control.
        It truly is one of the more iconic images of the park.

  6. Friends,

    Please take 2 minutes of your time to send an individual email. Endorsements may be e-mailed to info@preservewa.org
    Please respond ASAP, as the closing window is Feb. 15.
    Below is cut and paste wording if you so choose to use it. Preserving our past will help to ensure our future generations appreciate their history.

    To Whom It May Concern:
    I endorse the nomination of the Enchanted Valley Chalet on the Quinault River, Olympic National Park, for inclusion on the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2014 Most Endangered List.
    I support the NPS in whatever actions they may take to save this historic structure.


  7. Scott Wakefield says:

    Call ME I will volunteer my services! Scott Wakefield..PSW Electric.

  8. Stephanie says:

    I do not understand why the NPS still quietly spending taxpayer MILLIONS to purchase over-priced private properties on Lake Crescent, but cannot spend pocket change (to NPS) to move this historic landmark to safer ground.

  9. Kat says:

    Hi… Could you provide instructionson how to get to this hike?

    Thanks a bunch!

    • ExoticHikes says:

      We have added the basic hiking information to the bottom of the post.
      Thanks for pointing that out and let us know if you have any more questions!

  10. Dave Miser says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that they won’t move it. They talked about doing that about 6 or so years ago when the river had changed course and was close to the Chalet at that time. It’s interesting that the ONPS moved all of the buildings at Elkhorn Meadows and not the Chalet, Oh I forgot that was on the Port Angeles side of the Mountain. David Miser

  11. Rod Farlee says:

    Update: Olympic National Park’s Environmental Assessment for “Temporary Relocation of the Enchanted Valley Chalet for the Protection of the East Fork Quinault River” to move the Chalet 50 to 100 feet back from the river bank was issued in May http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=59081

    A decision was expected in early June, but has not yet been issued.

    Time is running out.

    • ExoticHikes says:

      I was just wondering about this, as I hadn’t received a news alert for a solution. Looks like ti is time to once again ramp up public opinion and force the parks to make a decision. Thanks for the update! If you hear anything, please keep me posted via this post, or my email at exotichikes@gmail.com.

  12. Rose says:

    Good News! As of September, 2014 they decided to move and save the Chalet!

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