Kalama, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||27 fpm|
This run can be divided into a couple of sections. The first half from the 6450 Bridge (just upstream of the Weyerhauser gate) to the 8100 Bridge contains a number of good class II rapids. The one class III rapid is What's That Falls, a river wide ledge that is easy to scout from river left.
Those just looking for a short class II/III run may take out at the 8100 Bridge but for those who want to check out the most challenging drop on this run, you can continue downstream. The river passes through a mini gorge just downstream of the bridge and then you reach the horizon line at Leader Rapids. This boulder garden has a good line down the left and at higher flows you can pick your way through the boulders on river right. A couple more class II rapids follow but then the pace calms down considerably. You can continue on down to the fish hatchery which is about 4 miles of class I floating, or find a take-out along the road. Pay attention to private property though as there are several houses all along this section.
If you continue on down to the fish hatchery you can portage Lower Kalama Falls on river left and continue on with another two miles of great class III/IV down to Red Barn (the Lower Kalama run).
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|-19.9||Weyerhaeuser Gate Access|
|-18.1||What's That Falls||III|
|-16.8||Summer's Creek Drop||III|
|-10.9||Fish Hatchery Access|
|-10.8||Lower Kalama Falls|
A put-in is available on upstream river right of the bridge. This is the put-in described in Bennett's guidebook for the Gobar Creek to Fish Hatchery Run. It is just upstream of the Weyerhaeuser gate so if you find the gate closed you might as well just park outside the gate, and put-in there.
The Kalama River Road maintained by the county becomes the Weyerhauser 6000 Road which is a private timber road that may be gated. You can put-in on the downstream side of the gate.
A fun river wide ledge that can be scouted from river left.
A fun little rapid as you approach the bridge.
This access can be used as an alternate take-out for those who do not want to continue on downstream to the Class IV Leader Rapids.
Leader Rapids is a boulder garden with a route down center left. At higher water you can pick your way through the boulders on river right.
Unless you are going to portage Lower Kalama Falls and continue on downstream you will want to take out at the fish hatchery on river right. Be sure not to venture down towards the falls as the banks are lined with blackberries.
Lower Kalama Falls is located immediately downstream of the fish hatchery. Most put-in below the falls for this run. The falls itself is a severe hazard due to the riverwide dam at the end of the falls that forms a deadly hydraulic. A portage on the left side is available but be sure to get out at the first eddy above the start of the falls.