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Difficulty II+
Length 9.2 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 01/06/2003 1:00 am

River Description

SEASON: Winter rain storms.

ACCESS: To reach the takeout, take Forest Road 29 (marked with a sign for Rugged Ridge Trail) as it leaves Highway 101 at mile 193.3 (about a mile north of Forks) and head east. Follow FR 29 to mile 3.6 and the bridge across the NF Calawah which is the take-out. If you're interested in the quick and efficient shuttle and minimizing your chances for an epic shuttle adventure (you can never eliminate them out here), then head back to Highway 101 and head north and then east around the Peninsula to Highway 101 mile 211.9 near Klahowya Campground, and turn south onto Copper Ranch Road (County Road 2065). In 2.2 miles from 101 you'll need to turn left to stay on Cooper Ranch Road. Continue on past the turn-off for Regume Ranch and the end of the pavement (4.4 miles from Highway 101). You're now on FR 2923. In 5.5 miles from Highway 101 take a right on the 060 spur. From this turn, it's 1.1 miles down to the put-in at Balch Bridge.

The altenate "scenic route" which may or may not be an option depending on road conditions, would be to continue east from the take-out and at FR 29 mile 8.8 (that's 5.2 miles from the take-out bridge) take FR 2923 as it cuts up the hill away from the river. You'll drop down to a bridge over the North Fork at mile 11.6. Continue on to mile 13.0 and turn left onto spur road 060 and follow it 1.1 miles to Balch Bridge. While shorter, this route is slower. You can obtain current road information from the USFS Pacific Ranger District in Forks (360)374-6522. The call is worth it for this one, but don't expect them to always know.


Nearly continuous class II+ rapids through a scenic drainage.

lat/long approximated by Tiger map server

for additional information see

  • Korb, G. 1997. A paddlers guide to the Olympic Peninsula. third edition.
  • local expert: Gary Korb & Carol Volk, 4930 Geiger Road, Port Orchard, WA 98366, 206-876-6780
  • Pacific Ranger District, North - USFS Olympic National Forest website

Rapid Descriptions


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3 years ago

We ran this stretch at 5510 cfs on 11/25/2016. Fun with many play waves and little eddies to catch. Had 1 riverwide log, could portage both sides. The ledge drop had 3 sketchy openings, all of us portaged in river left, except one kayaker ran the left shore chute.

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Check the USGS Hoh gauge, which is the closest real-time gauge to the river. There is a gauge on the main stem of the Calawah on the downstream river left side of the Highway 101 bridge (stn. 12043000, 129 sq. mi.) but data are not available real-time and there is no staff gauge.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

Addressing Road Problems in Olympic National Forest (WA)

Thomas O'Keefe

The extensive road network in Olympic National Forest has deteriorated over the last few years with the reduction in logging intensity and corresponding lack of routine maintenance. The road failures have resulted in destruction of aquatic habitat and reduced access. Repair work and decommissioning has begun with the introduction of a new road management plan in fall 2002.


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191865 01/06/03 n/a n/a