Difficulty II-III
Length 6.5 Miles
Flow Range 1.80 - 5.50 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 0.44 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 06/25/2020 6:26 pm

River Description

SEASON: November through July with good rain or snowmelt.

FUN FACT: Impressive gorge that can be enjoyed by intermediate paddlers.

ACCESS: From Highway 101 mile 306.0 travel 5.9 miles up the Dosewallips River Road (FR 2610) and turn left (south) onto FR 2620 (unmarked). Follow this road down and across Six-Mile Bridge and turn left to a put-in on river right about 0.1 miles downstream from the bridge. If you want to run the Pinch you can continue up FR 2610 to mile 6.0 and hike down to the river. The bridge and the land immediately surrounding the Pinch is private property. To reach the take-out, return to Highway 101 and go 1 mile south across the Highway 101 Bridge to Dosewallips State Park. You can turn west into the campground to access the river at the Highway 101 Bridge. If the campground is closed, turn east and head for the Hood Canal access.


This run can be paddled by itself or as a continuation of the Middle Dosewallips run. Just keep in mind that the land at Six-Mile Bridge including the shoreline adjacent to the Pinch is private property.

Below the Pinch, the river consists of a few miles of nearly continuous class II/III whitewater with a few fun but short class III rapids. There are waves, small ledges, short boulder gardens, and little holes. Be cautious of wood hazards--it's not uncommon to have a portage or two. About halfway through the run at Wilson Creek you will encounter one of the better playspots on the run at a fun little hole, and then you will enter an impressive gorge section characteristic of the Olympic Peninsula rivers. There is a rapid at the entrance and then the walls close in around you. When the ground is saturated an impressive waterfall flows off the gorge rim that you can paddle through. As you look downstream the river flows straigh into a bedrock wall, but makes a hard turn to the left before opening up. It's a short section of just a few hundred yards but it's a very beautiful place and one of the most accessible gorge sections on the Olympic Peninsula for intermediate paddlers.

There are a few more rapids after the gorge but the pace begins to slow as the water calms down to class I/II and river-side homes begin to appear. If there were a take-out option here most would probably exit the river at the end of the gorge, but it's all private property. As you approach Hood Canal, the channel becomes braided and although there are a few strong eddy lines the rapids are basically over. Once you exit the gorge, expect to take about half an hour to reach the take-out at Dosewallips State Park. Stay alert for log hazards which are prevelant in the lower section. Sometimes you can get through without having to portage, but in other years you may encounter a river-wide log hazard or two.

lat/long very approximate from 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
  • Bennett, J. and T. Bennett. 1997. A guide to the whitewater rivers of Washington, second edition. Swiftwater Publishing. Portland, OR.
  • Hood Canal Ranger District, North - USFS Olympic National Forest web site
  • Washington State Parks - Dosewallips State Park

Rapid Descriptions


Gage Descriptions

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 snow melt but runs  after a good rain and holds its water for a few days. Look for the Duckabush to be at 750 cfs on winter rains or at 400 cfs during snowmelt for a nice medium-low level. 

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.


Thomas O'Keefe


Robert Scanlon


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1201313 05/19/12 Thomas O'Keefe update put-in coordinates
1201314 05/19/12 Thomas O'Keefe copy edits
1212544 05/31/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1215352 06/25/20 Robert Scanlon updated description
1201677 11/21/12 Thomas O'Keefe copy edits
1191901 07/09/04 Thomas O'Keefe gage range
1198596 11/07/10 Thomas O'Keefe gage edits
1198599 11/07/10 Thomas O'Keefe abstract added