Gray Wolf, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||130 fpm|
SEASON: May through July once road to Deer Park opens
LOGISTICS: To reach the take-out, turn south off Highway 101 at mile 267.4 on to Palo Alto Road which takes you 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 cross it at a bridge just upstream of the Gray Wolf confluence which comes in from river left. The campground which is the take-out is here between the two rivers. Nestled in the rain shadow of the mountains and surrounded by mid-age Douglas Fir, it is one of the nicer Forest Service campgrounds in the Olympics. To reach the put-in, head back to Highway 101 and continue west toward Port Angeles. At mile mile 253.1 (near the Deer Park Cinema) turn south on to Deer Park Road . Follow this road all the way to the end and the trailhead. You will need to check road conditions with Olympic National Park as the road is snowed in during the winter. From the trailhead it's about a 4 mile hike down to the river that drops 3000 feet in elevation.
This run starts out in the National Park before passing through the heart of the northern unit of the National Forest's Buckhorn Wilderness. It's one of the only runs on the Olympic Peninsula that passes through historic old-growth forest that is now protected as wilderness. This also means that significant wood hazards can form so use caution. It's a long and challenging run that requires careful scouting. If you want to check out the river later in the summer you can scout it out from the Gray Wolf Trail (trail 834) although it's always a good idea to check out trail conditions with the National Forest first.
lat/long very approximate by tiger map server
for additional information see:
Memo and supporting documents on rivers eligible for Wild and Scenic designation within Olympic National Park