Difficulty III
Length 5 Miles
Flow Range 800 - 15000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 months ago 211 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 01/29/2020 5:32 pm

River Description

FUN FACT: A beautiful gorge run suitable for intermediates.

SEASON: During the rainy periods from November to May. Snow often makes the run inaccessible in winter although sufficient flows often do exist.

LOGISTICS: At Hwy 101 mile 112.6 (approximately 4 miles north of the bridge across the Humptulips) look for the sign to Wynoochee Lake Recreation Area, and take Donkey Creek Road (FR 22) east off Highway 101 for 12.2 miles to a spur road that leads down to the river. The road ends in 0.4 miles at a nice campsite and river access at a fun rapid. If you want to shorten the run a bit or don't want to take your car down this spur, there is a good pull-out at FR 22 mile 12.6 where the river comes up near the road. Before setting shuttle, most continue on to mile 13.0 where FR 22 crosses the river. This gives you a decent visual check on flows and you can take out on the upstream river left side of the bridge if you're hiking your shuttle. The road to the put-in is at mile 12.9 (just west of the bridge). This is FR 2206 and it heads north along the west side of the river. Follow it up to mile 3.2 where a faint trail (an old logging spur now blocked by a berm) heads down into the forest. After about a hundred yards the trail becomes less distinct but if you keep toward the right and follow the elk trails down the hill it should only take about 5 minutes to reach the river.

SHUTTLE: Run, walk, bike, or drive to the put-in. It's not uncommon for the road (FR 2206) to be snowed in during the winter. Check with Olympic National Forest for the latest road conditions.


The Narrows section of the Humptulips is one of the true gems of the Olympic Peninsula. Flowing through a narrow gorge tucked within a narrow strip of old growth forest gives one a sense of the true beauty of the Pacific coastal rainforest (you almost forget the clearcuts when you're down in the gorge). The run nearly always has dependable flows through the winter rainy season and is a good bet when you find other nearby runs to be a little lower than expected.

Once you find the river the first section is characterized by a meandering channel with some impressive log jams. After the first mile or so the river squeezes over a boulder-choked ledge and into a canyon at the mouth of Flatbottom Creek. The only possible run through this drop is the fish ladder on river left. It's not the most elegant drop, but you can get down it. Alternatively you should be able find a spot to seal launch into the pool at the base of the fish ladder. From this point down to the bridge, the river is constrained between tight bedrock walls of polished basalt.

The gorge is characterized by class III rapids around boulders and through little chutes. The primary routes are a bit technical, but not terribly demanding and there are good recovery stretches between drops. Although the rapids are straight forward, there are occasional logs so don't commit to anything you can't comfortably boat scout. Some sections of the gorge are really narrow.

You'll pass by a couple of impressive waterfalls. One of the best rapids comes just upstream of Goforth Creek which enters as a waterfall on river right.

The river opens up a bit after it passes under the bridge and there are a couple more fun rapids before the takeout. If you run this river in late fall the clear water makes for some great salmon viewing.

for additional information see:

  • Korb, G. 1997. A paddlers guide to the Olympic Peninsula. third edition.
  • local expert: Gary Korb & Carol Volk, 4930 Geiger Road, Port Orchard, WA 98366, 206-876-6780
  • Pacific Ranger District, South - USFS Olympic National Forest web site

Rapid Descriptions


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Matthias Fostvedt
1 year ago

On 12/9/18, we put in at 1100 cfs and it was bony but still enjoyable for the scenery and the salmon spawning. Ran the slopy seal launch on river left that drops you in just below the sieve. Be mindful that there is a large boulder just under the surface just downstream from the landing zone. If you are running this section for your first time (as we were), be careful with the hike-in. If you blindly follow the trail, it will lead you to a large bar that is an impentrable jungle of thorns. Leave the trail before the final steep part and head downstream where the thorny bar ends.

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Nick Borelli
10 years ago

As of 01/23/2010, the Narrows is clean! Do not run the falls however, as it is backed up with nasty wood, but the Fish Ladder goes and so would the seal launch on the right into the pool below the falls. The Landslide below Goforth Creek is also runnable far right. There is a good hole and some burly water to plow through but is Class IV- at the low flows we saw. You can portage this on river left, if you desire.

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Brian Vogt
15 years ago

Ran the Narrows Satuday, 10/30/2004 @ 2000 cfs on the combined gauge. Plenty of water. One log portage early in the run, above the falls at Flatbottom Creek. All channels were full of wood at the rapid at Goforth Creek. We removed what we could, right side is clean. SCOUT THIS DROP!

No other wood problems, but a couple of very small slots due to wood. Pay attention. A full trip report is posted at <A href="http://riverlog.blogspot.com/2004/10/east-fork-humptulips-narrows-run.html">this site</a>.

Gage Descriptions

A new gauge was recently established on the Humptulips. This gauge is below the confluence of the east and west forks so actual flow on this reach will be lower. A good flow for a first run is around 2000 cfs on the gauge. The current lower limit is the level you can still bang your way down but you'll want more for an enjoyable trip. It's also easy to get a visual check on flows for this reach. Just look for a good boatable flow at the takeout bridge. This river can be boated at lower levels than other nearby runs and it's usually good throughout the winter rainy season. If the water is muddy and flooding go somewhere else.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




article main photo

Addressing Road Problems in Olympic National Forest (WA)

Thomas O'Keefe

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.


Thomas O'Keefe


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1214261 01/29/20 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1212562 05/31/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1191925 11/06/04 Thomas O'Keefe n/a