FUN FACT: A couple of really fun class IV rapids
SEASON: Heavier rains and snow melt from November to June. Snow can on occasion limits access to the put-in. Elevation at the put-in is around 650'.
ACCESS: From Highway 101 mile 306.0 turn up Dosewallips River Road (FR 2610). To reach the take-out follow this road 5.9 miles to FR 2620 (unmarked) which is the turn-off for Six-Mile Bridge. Follow this road a short distance down to the bridge. Watch for dogs. From the signs along the road you might think you are on a private driveway but it is in fact a public Forest Service road. Stop on the bridge to check out The Pinch, but avoid the private property that includes the land around the bridge and down to the river. Continue across the bridge and turn left onto a spur road just past the bridge. Float just past the river center boulder in the riffle beyond the bridge and hike back up the spur road to avoid private property To reach the put-in, return back to FR 2610 and continue up river to mile 11 and the put-in at Elkhorn Campground. NOTE: A washout 2.5 miles before the campground has closed road access to this campground, but you can still hike beyond the washout if you want to run The Maze. Or just put in at the washout. Check the Olympic National Forest web site for current road conditions. During the winter, snow sometimes limits passage beyond mile 6 unless you have a high-clearance truck. Shortly beyond this point, however you enter the National Forest and the river closely parrellels the river providing you with several alternate access options.
The meat of this run starts near the beginning with The Maze (check out the back cover photo on Gary Korb's guide to the OP). This challenging class IV+ rapid consists of a boulder garden with a long (~500 yds.) complex series of chutes that have to be negotiated. It's easy to scout from the road on the way to the put-in where you can also decide to put in below the Maze if you wish. It can be difficult to find this rapid at the right level. At low water levels there just aren't many good routes, while there are plenty of places to get pinned. At high water things get a little fast and hairy (it doesn't take much to push this to class V).
After the Maze, the pace of the river mellows as you pass through a few more boulder gardens and some fun little rapids. The middle section can be a little long at the lower limit of flows if you came for the class IV action, but if you came for just a small shot of class IV adrenaline then the middle section is quite enjoyable and has fantastic scenery on a clear day. Below the washout, there are several miles of good continuous class III rapids making it a good introduction to creeking at the lower range of flows. Wood is always an issue on this run so stay alert.
Towards the end of the run the pace picks up again as you approach the Pinch. The rapid above it can be seen as you're driving to the put-in (just upstream of the turn-off for FR 2620). There is a mid-stream island with a good route along the left-hand side. This channel slams into a bedrock wall and then makes a hard turn to the right (photo). At river level the drop is tricky to boat scout but it can be done if you can catch the small eddies along the left. Alternatively, hop out at the top of the island for a look. You'll then have a short recovery stretch through a narrow bedrock chute before you reach The Pinch (photo). Depending on flows and your skills you can often boat scout it, but if you're unsure just get out on river right to scout it from the rocks. It's always a good idea to check for logs here. The river slices through a bedrock chute which takes you from left to right before making a hard turn to the left through The Pinch where most of the current passes through a narrow slot that's not visible from the top of the rapid--just make sure you're not floating sideways. Depending on flows, the hole at the bottom of the Pinch has given some boaters trouble.
Use caution in this final section as there are places where wood becomes lodged between the bedrock walls. The land around Six Mile Bridge is privately owned so stay below the high water mark to scout and be polite to the property owners.
Shortly after crossing under the bridge you reach the takeout on river right. Take out at or below the midstream boulder in the riffle below the bridge and hike up the spur road to avoid private property. Watch out for dogs, especially if you plan to bike shuttle...
lat/long approximate from tiger map server
for additional information see:
1 month ago
by Robert Scanlon
Ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the proposed hydropower project on the Dosewallips River.
A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
Check levels from Six Mile Bridge and look for about 600 cfs. Historically there was a USGS gauge on this river (stn. 1205300 , 1931-1968, 93.5 sq. mi.) but it is no longer active. You can get an idea of flows by looking at nearby realtime gauges (Elwha, Dungeness, Duckabush). The run is best on snowmelt but runs after a good rain and holds its water for a few days. The last half mile can still be fun at lower flows. Look for the Duckabush to be at 750 cfs on winter rains or at 400 cfs during snowmelt for a nice medium-low level. At the lower limit of flows rapids are III+ and at higher flows expect pushy class IV (The maze is always at least IV+ if you choose to hike to it).
Permits are not required for this reach.
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Running the Pinch
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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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