SEASON: November to June.
LOGISTICS: At Highway 101 mile 317.9 Take FR 25 (Hamma Hamma Road) as it runs west into the National Forest. Head up this road past Hamma Hamma Campground and go left across the Cabin Creek bridge and then Hamma Hamma River bridge. This is the put-in. To reach the take-out continue a short distance past the bridge and take a hard left on to FR 2480 which heads downstream along river right (this road can be blocked by low elevation snow during winter and unfortunately paddling out to Highway 101 is not an option due to the presence of an unrunnable gorge between the take-out and Highway 101). Check road reports under Recereation, Current Conditions, Hood Canal South, on the USFS Olympic National Forest web site. Follow FR 2480 3.6 miles to a spur road that heads down to the river and the take-out (you will need to scout this out carefully because the spur road is not marked on current USFS maps and the unrunnable gorge is just downstream). An alternative is to take-out just after U Turn and hike out straight to the road (as of 2011 this was a clear cut with skid roads).
The river starts off at the bridge with a fun rapid and after a couple bends the gradient starts to flatten out a bit. You will soon come to an area of active channel migration where you should be prepared to portage log jams that form in this reach.
The gradient starts to pick up again and the character noticeably changes as you pass Jefferson Creek where the additional flow and steeper gradient create some fun class III rapids. You soon come to point where the river drops away in a turbulent furry and disappears around the corner into U Turn. This rapid is difficult to scout but with some effort you can scramble along the rim and get a few views from high above. At medium flows the run starts with a couple of holes at the entrance and then a couple more as you turn the corner before tapering off into a good recovery pool at the end of the gorge. You can take-out here or go another 1/3 of a mile to pick up one more rapid before the river plunges into an unrunnable canyon.
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A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
Visual. Look for flows of about 600 cfs. There was a USGS gauge on this river (stn. 12054500, 1951-1979, 51.3 sq. mi.) but it is no longer active. If you take a look at the staff gauge (river left just below Watson Creek), Korb notes that 1.2' is about the minimum for this run. Flows around 1200 cfs on the South Fork Skokomish are about right for good intermediate levels on this run.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Exiting U Turn
Exiting U Turn
Entrance to U Turn
Rapid on the Hamma Hamma
Springs on the Hamma Hamma
Hamma Hamma put-in
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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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