Sol Duc - 1. Salmon Cascade to FR 2918 Bridge

Sol Duc, Washington, US


1. Salmon Cascade to FR 2918 Bridge

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 3.1 Miles

Sol Duc

Sol Duc
Photo of John Ross by Tom O'Keefe taken 11/26/99 @ 3.3'

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Soleduck nr. Fairholm
virtual-6272 750 - 4000 cfs IV 00h54m 316.14 cfs (too low)

River Description

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

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-12-03 16:35:18


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Salmon CascadeVPhoto Video
0.0Sol Duc GageN/APhoto
0.0Ledge DropIVPhoto Video

Rapid Descriptions

Salmon Cascade (Class V)
Click Here For Video

Salmon Cascade

Salmon Cascade
Photo of Kennet Belenky by Thomas O'Keefe taken 11/27/04 @ 2.4'

Most put in at the base of Salmon Cascade but the rapid is run.

Sol Duc Gage (Class N/A)

Sol Duc Gage

Sol Duc Gage
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 11/23/01

USGS gauging station (stn. 12041500, 1917-1980) at mile 4.9 on Sol Duc Hot Springs Road.

Ledge Drop (Class IV)
Click Here For Video

The big rapid

The big rapid
Photo of Omar Jepperson by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 11/28/09

The big Ledge Drop drop rapid, a highlight of the run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
November 27 2017 (19 days ago)
Thomas O'KeefeDetails
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.

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Associated Projects

  • Wild Olympics (WA)
    A campaign to protect the free-flowing rivers of the Olympic Peninsula.