Sol Duc - 4. Bear Creek to Hatchery (Mosh Pit)

Sol Duc, Washington, US


4. Bear Creek to Hatchery (Mosh Pit)

Usual Difficulty III (for normal flows)
Length 6.3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 27 fpm

Mosh Pit

Mosh Pit
Photo of David Vican by Thomas O'Keefe В© taken 11/22/01

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-12040500 20000 - 40000 cfs III 00h20m 871 cfs (too low)
usgs-12041200 5000 - 40000 cfs III 00h35m 1520 cfs (too low)

River Description

FUN FACT: The place to surf after a heavy winter rain

SEASON: During heavy winter rains and particularly rain on snow events.

LOGISTICS: For those wanting to do the full run, turn off onto Hillstrom Road at Highway 101 mile 206.3 (this is just east of Bear Creek). Follow this road half a mile down to the put-in at the boat ramp. The park-and-play crowd heads directly to the take-out when the Mosh Pit is running. From the put-in continue west on Highway 101 to mile 203.5 and turn south on Mary Clark Road and then turn immediately west on Pavel Road towards the State Salmon Hatchery. Follow Pavel Road 1.3 miles to the Soleduck hatchery and pull into the first parking lot on your right and take the boat ramp down to the river. This is where you'll find the Mosh Pit.


The Sol Duc River through this section provides fun class III boating through boulder gardens with numerous routes. The run is generally more open and less technical than many of the nearby peninsula runs. There are several fun surfing spots before the run ends at the higlight for most boaters--a surf wave formed by the hatchery weir known by local boaters as the "Mosh Pit".

The Mosh Pit

As a favorite park-and-play site that only comes to life when the rivers are high, the Pit sees heavy traffic on weekends when it's running. It's usually best when the following conditions are met:

  • Queets at 20k (USGS gauge) and still rising and the Hoh at 5k (USGS gauge) and climbing. For premium conditions you want to catch it on the rising limb of the hydrograph with the Queets headed up towards 70k and the Hoh headed up towards 30k. If levels are dropping by the time you leave you'll probably miss it.
  • 3 or more inches of rain in 12 hours (check NWS station at Quillayute), it may develop with slightly less rain if there is a lot of rain on snow
  • A rapidly rising Olympic freezing level after a heavy snow (if the freezing level is low the pit won't develop even with heavy rain in Forks)
  • Forecast for more rain (rain, NOT showers or shower activity) check the weather forecast tab
  • Saturated ground

These conditions generally define optimal flows for the Pit when it's worth making the trip out. You may find it running when all of these conditions are not met, so if you're passing by with boats on the car stop in to check it out.

It's important to watch out for logs when the water is high. When the Pit is at its best entire trees move down the river. Post a spotter with whistle on the pump station if to avoid being wiped out by woody debris.

with contributions from Chris Hivick and Gary Korb

for additional information see

  • Korb, G. 1997. A paddlers guide to the Olympic Peninsula. third edition.
  • local expert: Gary Korb & Carol Volk, 4930 Geiger Road, Port Orchard, WA 98366, 206-876-6780
  • Bennett, J. and T. Bennett. 1997. A guide to the whitewater rivers of Washington, second edition. Swiftwater Publishing. Portland, OR.
  • Pacific Ranger District, North - USFS Olympic National Forest web site

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-11-29 06:38:23


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-30.9Mosh PitIII+Playspot Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Mosh Pit (Class III+, Mile -30.9)

Mosh Pit

Mosh Pit
Photo of David Vican by Thomas O'Keefe В© taken 11/22/01

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