SEASON: November through July with good rain or snowmelt.
FUN FACT: Short section of fun class IV
LOGISTICS: The take-out is at the Duckabush River bridge at
Highway 101 mile 310.2. From the take-out, head north 0.2 miles to FR
2510 (Duckabush Road) which runs along river left. Head 6.2 miles along
the road to a bridge across the Duckabush. An alternate put-in which
avoids the portage around the start of the gorge is the Ranger Hole Trail
(trail 824), which is 3.7 miles up Duckabush Road at the Forest Service
cabin (the cabin is available for rent). It's a mile hike down to the river.
During the winter, snow will likely limit access to the upper put-in, but the
road is plowed up to the Ranger Hole Trail. Check the current conditions
report for road condition at the
USFS Olympic National Forest
The Duckabush has some great rapids, but the hike at the start of
the run and the paddle out through braided channels make it a bit less
appealing than other runs nearby. Despite this, it's a beautiful river and
well worth checking out if you're looking for a new adventure.
Approximately two miles of good intermediate rapids characterize the
start of the run from the bridge. The downside however, is once you reach
the gorge you need to portage up and around it for nearly a mile (Korb
notes there may be some good rapids downstream of the first portage
where a boulder closes off the river, but the difficulty is getting back to the
river). The portage trail joins up with the Ranger Hole trail which heads
down to the river.
If you want to avoid the portage and still hit the best rapids, then you
can hike in from the road on the Ranger Hole Trail. This also requires
about a mile hike in. Once you reach the river, scout out the rapids and
work your way upstream a couple hundred yards to launch. This is the
best section of rapids on the run and it's an incredibly beautiful spot.
Below this point you have about a mile of fairly continuous class IV
boulder gardens separated by sections of class III rapids through scenic
bedrock canyons. These are great drops that you can boat scout.
Unfortunately however the run begins to taper down quickly after about a
mile to class III, II, and then becomes a float out through braided channels
for the last couple miles. If you put in at Ranger Hole, this lower section
will be about 2/3 of the run. The river remains beautiful through this lower
section until you near the end and come up to lots of homes and
reinforcing walls used to stablize the banks. Beware that log jams can be
a hazard in this section.
lat/long very approximate by tiger map
for additional information see:
Memo and supporting documents on rivers eligible for Wild and Scenic designation within Olympic National Park
A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
Look for flows around 400 cfs.
There is a USGS gauge on this river
12054000, 1938-, 66.5 sq. mi.) that is now
available on-line. Korb lists a
minimum level of 2.0' (450 cfs) on this gauge
and you can take a look at it before
putting on (located 4.7 miles up the
Duckabush Road). You can grind
down a bit lower and still have a good
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!