FUN FACT: Good continuous class III+ boating with some fun IV rapids and a couple great play spots
SEASON: Winter rain storms. Generally best when rivers are moderately high.
PUT-IN: Salmon Cascade
TAKEOUT: FR 2918 (South Fork Sol Duc Road) bridge
LOGISTICS: At mile 219.2 on Highway 101 take Sol Duc Hot Springs Road south into Olympic National Park. The takeout can be reached at mile 4.2. You need to walk across the vegetated strip between Sol Duc Hot Springs Road and FS 2918 to get to the bridge (good access downstream on the river right side of the bridge), but it's a short hike with boats (the two roads are connected at mile 3.6, but it's gated). The put-in is at mile 7.3 at the viewing area for Salmon Cascade. An alternative put-in is available upstream at the bridge near Olympic Hot Springs resort. Note that Sol Duc Hot Springs road is typically closed with the first big snow and left closed until plowing at Hurricane Ridge stops. Check with Olympic National Park for the latest conditions. The Forest Service Road (FR 2918) on river left is left open but it starts to cut away from the river at the South Fork confluence (one option is to put on the South Fork). They usually know the road situation at the Resource Information Center in Forks 360-374-7566.
DESCRIPTION: Although you can start higher up, the best whitewater really begins at Salmon Cascade. This class V drop has been run, but it's a little grungy and has a scary looking wall on river right. If you are putting in higher up it's worth a stop to check this drop out so you can plan your run or portage route accordingly. Most put in at the base of Salmon Cascade and enjoy continuous whitewater action all the way to the bridge. It's mostly continuous class III+ with a few class IV sections. Most of the run consists of endless boulder gardens. Everything of course cranks up a notch as the water rises with some fun surf waves, holes, and whirpools, but most of the river is read and run. One of the last rapids is the big ledge drop just downstream of the confluence with the South Fork that you will see coming in from river left. The rapid is difficult to scout from your boat and you may find it necessary to take a look from shore. The standard scout or portage route is river left. A large hole develops right of center that most will want to avoid. There are good eddies and some nice play spots at the bottom of this drop. Those who wish to lengthen the run can continue down as far as they want to one of the access points along Highway 101. The river backs of a notch in difficulty to class III after the FR 2918 Bridge.
for additional information see
Most put in at the base of Salmon Cascade but the rapid is run.
USGS gauging station (stn. 12041500, 1917-1980) at mile 4.9 on Sol Duc Hot Springs Road.
The big Ledge Drop drop rapid, a highlight of the run.
We found the river at a great level but the gate was closed over the Thanksgiving 2017 holiday. We went up the Forest Service 2918 road and ran from the South Fork confluence down.
We had a couple groups run this at a range of flows over Thanksgiving weekend. Rapids were all good to go and the road was open to Salmon Cascade.
The recent high water moved some wood on this run. At Salmon Cascade, the right channel is now clean all the way from the top but the center still has some wood in it. And the logs that had accumulated at the ledge just downstream from the confluence with the South Fork (described in other comments) are now completely gone!
The road is still washed out near Salmon Cascade but the Park Service has installed barriers and restricted traffic to the one remaining lane in those sections. Repairs may occur in 2005. The run was good on 27NOV2004, but the log jam is still in place just downstream of the confluence with the North and South Fork. We were able to get by on the left but you might want to take a look at it as new wood could collect up at any time. You can see it through the trees near road mile 5. Other than that we had no other wood issues from Salmon Cascade down to the FR 2918 bridge.
2 years ago
by Bob M
Memo and supporting documents on rivers eligible for Wild and Scenic designation within Olympic National Park
Rating curve for the USGS Soleduck River near Fairholm gage (stn. 12041500, 1917-1980)
A comprehensive guide to 75 river runs on Washington's beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
You can get a pretty good look at most of this river from the road, but for those who like to be quantitative there is an old USGS gaging station (stn. 12041500, 1917-1980) at mile 4.9 on Soleduck Hot Springs Road. Look for a six-car pullout on the west shoulder of the road and a small brown trail sign marking a hiking route on the east side of the road. Follow the more hidden trail to the gauge on the west side of the road, directly opposite the hiking trail, down to the concrete gauging tower on river right. The staff gauge plate is on the downstream side of the tower and the base of the ladder is at 3.4' which corresponds to 1050 cfs. Anything above 3.0 feet or 800 cfs is good. 5' or about 2400 cfs is a great level and things start to get juicy about 6' or about 3400 cfs. For those trying to assess the run from a remote location, the virtual gauge provides approximate flow by weighting the Hoh River gauge (look for it to be up above 4000) to the basin area of the Soleduck at the old gauging station. Based on the historical data, the relationship is good (approx. 80% of the time), but not perfect.
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.
Sol Duc Trip
Left Line at Salmon Cascade
Right Line at Salmon Cascade
Left Line at Salmon Cascadee
Sol Duc Gage
The big rapid
Salmon Cascade, low water
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.
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!