SEASON: November through July. Runs during good rain events and during snowmelt.
Below the confluence with the Gray Wolf river the Dungeness river flows through a beautiful section of river with mature forests and consistent gradient over the course of the run. There are no big drops on the run but the river serves up continuous action with class II and III whitewater.
Although the channel is relatively wide, you can expect wood to be in play and it is not uncommon to have a couple of channel-spanning pieces. Don't commit to any blind corners as eddies can be limited in places and wood hazards can come up quick. Towards the lower half of the run there are a few islands where you may find it important to pick the clean channel.
Be sure to scout the take-out so you recognize it. You will know you are getting close when you start to see infrastructure associated with the hatchery (water pipes, etc.) on river left but the actual take-out point has few defining features.
LOGISTICS: To reach the put-in from Highway 101 mile 267.4 take Palo Alto Road south through farmlands and into the foothills of the Olympics. This road is paved all the way and in 8.0 miles you will see a turnoff to the right (FR 2880) for Dungeness Forks Campground. Follow this road 1.0 miles down to the Dungeness River. You will come to a bridge across the Dungeness River just upstream of the Gray Wolf confluence at Dungeness Forks Campground (one of the nicer Forest Service campgrounds in the Olympics). The put-in is on river right upstream of the bridge and you can hike up to run the final rapids of the upper run. Alternatively, you can cross the Dungeness to river left and continue on FR 2880 about a mile. Turn right onto FR 2870 at the Y and you will soon be at the bridge across the Gray Wolf. This alternative put-in adds another 0.7 mile to the run on the lower section of the Gray Wolf.
To reach the take- out, head back out to Highway 101 and head west to mile 262.0 (just west of the bridge across the Dungeness) and turn south on the Taylor cut-off. Follow this road 2.7 miles and then turn left on May Road. In another 0.3 miles head right on Fish Hatchery Road. There is a small public parking area at the hatchery. The river is a couple hundred yards away, but be sure to scout it out so you recognize it when you see it.
for additional information see:
Ran the lower Dungeness on a nice summer day. Encountered two separate groups and saw 7 people out on the water. Great run with good water at 900 cfs. There were about half a dozen wood hazards over the course of the run that required paddling over, under, or around. The best routes were not always obvious for a couple of the islands it was important to choose the correct channel to avoid heading into a log jam. That being said, only one portage was required.
2 years ago
by Bob M
A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
Look for flows around 800 cfs.
Check the gauge on the Dungeness.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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Fish Hatchery Take-out
Fog on the Dungeness
Wood Hazards on the Dungeness
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