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
for additional information see:
A group of six of us set out to run this river over Thanksgiving 2005. We should have listened to the local fisherman we met before putting on who suggested we'd find the Elwha to be a better kayak run. The portages began from the moment we put on and we were never able to run more than a couple hundred yards without hauling over one of the approximately 3 dozen log jams we encountered. There were several additional places where we made sketchy moves over, under, and around wood hazards. There were a couple good rapids but overall the whitewater was not that great and overshadowed by the time spent hiking along the banks.
A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
There is now a DOE gauge for the Lyre River.
The historic USGS gauge on this river
but it is no longer active (stn. 12044000
1917-1927, 48.6 sq. mi.)
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.
Portaging down the Lyre
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.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!