Calawah, Washington, US
Hyas Creek to Bogachiel River
||II-III (for normal flows)
Calawah RapidsPhoto of Jan Tackett by Thomas O'Keefe taken 11/28/15 @ 500 cfs
The Calawah is a low elevation drainage and flows for whitewater boating depend on winter rains.
Storms coming in off the Pacific can send the river to floodstage overnight while an advancing
cold front can make flows drop out of the range just as quickly.
The river has faced a history of intense logging, but a new generation of forestry regulations
has resulted in greater protection of riverside forests and water quality is now generally
exceptional on this river. Sightings of salmon, steelhead, and eagles are common on this run.
While the entire 17 miles is likely too long for a day trip, this river can be broken up into
several sections. The first 2.5 miles from Hyas Creek to Klahine Campground is the most scenic
flowing through Olympic National Forest with emerald pools separated by class II to II+
About a mile downstream of Klahine Campground, as you enter state-managed forest land, the
Calawah drops through the best section of whitewater with approximately a mile of high quality
class III boulder garden rapids ending with "Island Rapid" which is run down the
As you reach the confluence with the North Fork Calawah, the action tapers off again but offers
more class II whitewater. As a few riverside homes come into view on river left you know you are
reaching the Highway 101 bridge access.
Below the Highway 101 bridge the river flows through commercial timberlands. While the class II
rapids are enough to make drift boat fishermen nervous, whitewater kayakers should not have too
much trouble. Some fun play awaits as the river joins the Bogachiel. Floating on the Bogachiel
just over 3 miles brings you to the Wilson Boat ramp and the lowermost take-out.
For a put-in, a number of access points are available along Forest Road 29 which parallels the
upper part of this run on river right. To find this road head about a mile north of Forks and at
Highway 101 mile 193.3 turn east on to Forest Road 29.
Driving up Forest Road 29 you will get a view of the river at the North Fork confluence at mile
3.6 that provides for a visual check on levels. Klahanie Campground is at mile 5.4 on this road
and this is the put-in access described in the Korb guidebook, however the campground is
typically closed during the winter boating season. At mile 6.0 up the road, Forest Road 2932 (Elk
Ridge Road) turns off to the south and the bridge here provides a potential access point. At mile
8.0 on Forest Road 29 you will reach the Hyas Creek confluence which is the traditional take-out
for the Sitkum and South Fork Calawah runs. The access is at a dispersed site at a gravel bar
with great river access just downstream of where Hyas Creek joins the Calawah.
You have a couple different options for a take-out. One option is at the Highway 101 boat ramp.
At the Highway 101 bridge mile 192.3 where the bridge crosses the Calawah, turn into the
Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife access on the upstream river left side of the
Another option is at the Wilson Boat Ramp downstream of where the Calawah joins the Bogachiel. To
reach this access, head down La Push Road which turns off from Highway 101 at mile 193.2 just
north of Forks. Head 5.5 miles down this road and turn left on Wilson Road. Follow this road 0.7
miles to the boat ramp (WDFW parking permit required).
You can obtain current road information from the USFS Pacific Ranger District in Forks
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-11-03 06:22:23