Sol Duc, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV (for normal flows)|
|Soleduck nr. Fairholm|
|virtual-6272||750 - 4000 cfs||IV||01h11m||561 cfs (too low)|
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
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Sol Duc Gage||N/A|
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.