This run can be enjoyed during the winter rainy season. While the uplands are managed for timber production by the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the river corridor for this entire run is the Clearwater Corridor Naturual Resources Conservation Area. The 2,323-acre conservation area along the river includes a mature coastal forest of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, red alder and bigleaf maple, riparian habitat along the Snahapish and Clearwater Rivers, and important elk habitat.
This a good run with high marks for scenery. The start and finish are a little slow, but in the middle the river cuts through a narrow gorge with some great drops and mind-blowing scenery. Scouting can be difficult and at higher water the entrance may push class V.
Logistics: If you're coming from the south along Highway 101, turn at mile 147.0 onto the Hoh-Clearwater Mainline Road (the sign here shows it as Clearwater Road) and head east as it parallels the river upstream. If you're coming from the north along Highway 101, turn at mile 176.0 turn onto the Hoh-Clearwater Mainline Road (signed as Clearwater Correction Center Road). From either direction stay on the mainline road (from the south it's 13.7 miles) until you reach the turn for Bull Trout Road (C-3000) which is right near the point where you cross the Snahapish River. Follow this road 3.5 miles to the bridge across the Clearwater or take out at the DNR Clearwater Campground on downstream river right. To reach the put-in return to the mainline road and turn right headed northeast and then at the Olympic Correction Center turn east onto the Upper Clearwater Road (C-2000). Follow this road about 12 miles to the put-in where the river comes up against the road. Note however that in recent years the road has been gated about 8 miles up so you will need to hike the last few miles (the road is good so bring your cart if you want to make it easier). You can call the Olympic Region DNR office at 360-374-6131 for current road conditions.
A fun canyon section from Itswoot Creek to Solleks River.
A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
Check the USGS Queets gauge. The Clearwater is a major tributary to the Queets. Historically there was a gauge on the Clearwater (stn. 12040000, 1931-1949, 140 sq. mi.) but it's difficult to correlate these data to current flows or a develop a relationship with Queets flows because of major logging that has recently occured in the basin.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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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.
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