Lyre, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||113 fpm|
SEASON: November to May
FUN FACT: A better river for fish than paddlers
LOGISTICS: At Highway 112 mile 46.4 turn north onto East Lyre Road and continue 0.5 mile into the DNR Lyre River Campground where you can take out at the fishing access on river right. To reach the put-in, head east on Highway 112 to mile 46.8 where a dirt road turns off to the south paralleling river right. The put-in is 2.8 miles up this road but if it is gated you will need to use the alternate route. Continuing east on Highway 112 to mile 49.2 turn south on Wye Road. Head 0.5 mile to the junction with Joyce-Piedmont Road and continue another 3.2 miles to the turn for the Spruce Railroad Trail. Follow this road 0.6 miles to the Lyre River outlet on Lake Crescent. Just before you reach the bridge across the river there is a road that turns off to the north and parallels river right. Take this road 0.7 miles to the A49 Gate. From this gate you will likely need to hike 0.8 mile to a pullout and a couple yards beyond that an excellent fishermen's trail down into the gorge (Korb describes class VI rapids upstream of the put-in).
If you are coming in from Highway 101 the turn for East Beach Road (which takes you to the road for the Spruce Railroad Trail) is at Highway 101 mile 231.9.
If you've boated most of the runs on the peninsula and are looking for new adventures that constitute taking a hike down the river with your boat, then the Lyre may be of interest. This is one of the youngest rivers on the peninsula--only a few thousand years old--formed when a large landslide blocked the historic outlet to Lake Crescent which was formally part of the Elwha River watershed. The lake now spills out to the north over a low section of the basalt formation that forms an arc around the northern and eastern sides of the Olympic Peninsula.
In theory the fact that flows are moderated by the lake would be a good thing for boating as flows don't drop as quickly as on other nearby rain-fed rivers. The downside however is lower peak events that would be required to flush some of the wood from the channel. Dozens of channel-spanning log jams make any exploration of this river gorge a real adventure. The rapids themselves are mostly class III with a couple of class IV drops. Two distinct rapids include a long run of what starts out as class III leading in to a somewhat blind class IV, and a class V double drop sequence of a ledge drop quickly followed by a chute that takes you left around a large boulder. The real hazard on this run however is wood which can create class V worries. Rapids are generally easy to scout or portage at river level.
The rapids taper off after about a mile as the gorge begins to open up with the run quickly tapering off to class III and eventually class II for the last mile.
lat/long very approximate by tiger map server
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