Hoh, S. Fork - Park boundary to South Fork Campground

Hoh, S. Fork, Washington, US


Park boundary to South Fork Campground

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 2.7 Miles

South Fork Hoh

South Fork Hoh
Photo of Ed and Grace Kane by David Vican taken 11/04/01 @ 4500

River Description

SEASON: Winter rain storms.


This trip combines the scenery of a large floodplain river, characteristic of the western side of the Olympic Peninsula, but with a bit more whitewater than other comparable runs like the Bogachiel, Hoh, or Queets.

This is a scenic river that starts out in Olympic National Park. The run starts out with some fun class II/III but as you continue downstream you will need to negotiate your way through some log jams. Use caution as the old-growth trees that grow along the river here can result in some massive wood hazards.

The river enters another fun bedrock section as you reach the bridge near the South Fork Campground. You can take-out here (this is the easiest access), or you can continue on down to the confluence with the Hoh. The whitewater is pretty much over at the bridge, but if you enjoy the scenery of a large floodplain river, the Hoh River is a fun trip and you can even continue all the way to Highway 101 if you're prepared for a long day on the water.

ACCESS: At Highway 101 mile 176.0 turn onto the Clearwater Correction Center Road. Follow this road 6.8 miles to a sign that marks the turn-off to the South Fork Hoh campground and head east down this road. In 2.3 miles you will reach the junction of Maple Creek Rd. and Owl Creek Rd. Continue up Maple Creek Rd. 2.8 miles and turn-off down to the South Fork Hoh Campground. From this turn it's 0.2 miles to a bridge located adjacent to the campground which is a good place to check the water level and also the easiest take-out. To reach the put-in you cross the bridge and continue up along river right for 2.8 miles to the South Fork Hoh trailhead. From the trailhead hike through the second-growth forest on DNR land about half a mile until you reach the National Park Boundary (where the trail starts going back up a steep slope and the forest makes an obvious transition to old-growth). Instead of continuing up this slope, turn to the right and follow the short fishermen's trail which takes you to the river. If you have the time, a hike on up the trail into the Park and the old-growth forest is well worth the effort.

You can make the trip longer by continuing on the Hoh River but there are some issues with river access. You can try the end of Owl Creek Rd. at the confluence with Owl Creek as an alternate take-out but this is private property (this would give you another 1.5 miles on the South Fork Hoh and 3.7 miles on the Hoh). In his guidebook Korb recommends Hoh Rainforest Lots (for 1.5 miles on the SF Hoh and 1-2 miles on the Hoh) which is also private property, and you will need to obtain permission from a willing landowner. The turn to reach this is located 1.7 miles up Maple Creek Rd. from the junction with Owl Creek Rd. Both of these options require a hike across the floodplain from the river to the spot where you leave your car so they are not the most convenient. Alternatively, if you want to plan a long day you could continue on down to the DNR's Hoh Oxbow Recreation Area just upstream of the Highway 101 Bridge, but this would be an additional 1.5 miles on the SF Hoh and 15 miles on the Hoh.

for additional information see

Korb, G. 1997. A paddlers guide to the Olympic Peninsula. third edition.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-12-04 07:34:09

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 18 2004 (5023 days ago)
Cyn TaylorDetails
We ran the South fork Hoh on Nov 25, 2004 with a group of 8. We hiked in about a mile on the trail.
It's a bit tricky knowing when to head off the trail and into the woods. Stay on the trail until it
begins rising fairly steeply. We didn't see a trail down to the water there, but the bush wacking
was not difficult. If you head off the trail too soon, you could end up with a long hike to the
river, which would be at the far end of a meander. If you head off too late, you'll not be able to
get down a cliff. The best whitewater was in the first 1-2 miles, so it was definitely worth hiking
in. The drops were easier than Korb made them out to be, but that may be due to landslides into the
river. We had 4 easy portages due to logs, but all we visible in time to read and run. It was
pretty much flat after the camp ground, so I would recommend taking out at the campground. We
continued down for about 2 miles after that. We talked to friendly neighbors that to ask them about
the take-out that Korb suggested, Hoh Rainforest Lots. They said that folks living there were not
friendly. Instead, we followed their suggestion to drive as far as the rd would go, parking at a
friendly owner's place who gave us permission. The tricky aspect of this take-out is that you
cannot easily get to the river from the take-out, because you have to cross a stream channel and
island to mark the main Hoh. We found the easiest place to do this was at the downstream end of the
island, which you get to from the very end of the rd. From there, we waded across in our drysuits,
crossed the island, and marked the main Hoh. Allow yourself an extra 30-60 mins to mark your
take-out. When parking the take-out car, watch out for creeks crossing this road that are
unpassable. I decided that I didn't want to risk driving my car through these creeks, and in the
end, it turned out to be a wise decision because the creek came up a ways while we were on the Hoh.
This trip was fun as as a novelty, but didn't have much in the way of class III. The only tricky
aspect was eddying out in time to avoid the log jams.

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Associated Projects

  • Wild Olympics (WA)
    A campaign to protect the free-flowing rivers of the Olympic Peninsula.