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
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.
A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
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.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!