The first part of the run is through a riverbed shaped by the Mt St Helens blast of 1980. There are many trees down along the bank, but they do not obstruct passage for a boat as of Spring 2015. The river does not reach class III before the gorge. This gorge is short, maybe 100 yards long, and has 3 distinct rapids with waves between. Be sure to check out the deep blue rock on river right above the final pinch when scouting, it is intriguing. All of the rapids in the gorge can be scouted easily from the right, portaging the pinch would be difficult.
Below the pinch the river enters a flat gorge section before returning to gravel bars. The eddyline at the confluence of the Muddy and Lewis portrays an interesting contrast in turbidity. The next half mile to the take out has enjoyable class II+ rapids with waves.
Access is easy at both the put in and take out. The run could probably be done well above the recommended flows, but the gorge would get wild, especially the Pinch which would be difficult to portage.
USGS Muddy River nr. Cougar. Recommended flow range unverified, from Bennett.
UPDATE: Bennett range states high flow as lower than actual. At 1300 cfs, almost twice the maximum recommended Bennett flow, the run felt medium. Low range is likely accurate.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Muddy River Lahar
Upper Clear Creek
Mt. St. Helens
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