FUN FACT: Good continuous class III/IV boating
SEASON: Winter rain storms.PUT-IN: FR 21 bridge across Matheny Creek
TAKEOUT: Q-1800 bridge across Matheny Creek
LOGISTICS: At mile 137.5 on Highway 101 take FR 21 east (this is
also marked as West Boundary Road). Follow FR 21 to mile 7.9 and the
put-in bridge across Matheny Creek (parking upstream river right).
Continue to mile 8.2 on FR 21 and turn left onto FR 2180. Follow this road
0.2 miles and turn left on Q-2000. Follow this road 2.6 miles to the takeout
bridge across Matheny Creek (it actually becomes Q-1800 about 1 mile
into this drive as you make a hard left turn at a gate that blocks continued
travel on Q-2000). Parking is upstream river left. For current information on
roads check the Olympic
National Forest web site (check rec reports for Pacific Ranger District
- South) or call 360-956-2400.
DESCRIPTION: Although a short run by itself, the lower section of
Matheny Creek is a great intermediate creek run. Another bonus is that
the bedrock gorges have good water even at relatively low levels. You
can lengthen this run by combining it with the middle section which
contains some good class III whitewater (see
descriptions for upper and middle sections). The first gorge consists
of several III+ rapids packed together for nearly continuous action with a
couple of spots requiring class IV moves. At higher levels these rapids
can become class IV, but everything is fairly straightforward for those with
good boat scouting skills. The action tapers off slightly through a short
stretch before you hit the second gorge. This gorge is similar in nature to
the first but slightly longer with several more fun class III+ rapids. It ends
with two IV- rapids that require scouting (at least to check for logs). The
first is "Call 911", a ledge that drops into a set of holes on river
left and the second is "Bowling Ball", a narrow chute with a 15'
diameter "bowling ball" complete with giant-size finger holes
on river right. After this drop the river tapers off for the final time and the
takeout bridge comes into view within a few minutes.
lat/long approximated by Tiger map server
photo credit: Web Peirce runs Bowling Ball at low
water, shot by Tom O'Keefe
for additional information see
Ran it 12/12/18 with 15,000 cfs and dropping. The log jam from 2016 is now passable on the left. As you pass, there is still one river-wide log that was about 6-7 feet above river level. This may become an issue at extremely high water. Other than that, no hazards.
Run is clean as on 11/5/15.
3 years ago
by Bob M
PDF Map for mobile devices.
A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
Something around 800 cfs is
about right although you can run this
section at relatively low water. Check
the USGS Queets gauge (Matheny
is a Queets trib) and look for flows of at
least 2000 cfs (10,000 is better). At the
put-in bridge, check the big rock on upstream river left
and look for water about halfway up the
rock for a good moderate level. This
section can be run higher or lower.
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 log jam
Log Jam at start of second canyon
Lower Matheny Creek
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.
This week, the House Natural Resource Committee’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands will hold a hearing on bills that would designate over 1000 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers. American Whitewater has brought the voice of the whitewater paddling community to the discussions that led to these legislative proposals with a goal of protecting rivers and the whitewater paddling experience.
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.
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!