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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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>.
2 years ago
10 years ago
by Thomas O'Keefe
11 years ago
A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
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
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Logs below Fish Ladder
Logs at gorge entrance Oct 23 2011
The falls at Flatbottom Creek
Humptulips Narrows, first section
put-in for the Narrows
Humptulips Fish Ladder
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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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