Sol Duc, N. Fork - N. Fork Trail Bridge to FR 2918 Bridge

Sol Duc, N. Fork, Washington, US


N. Fork Trail Bridge to FR 2918 Bridge

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 5.3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 85 fpm

North Fork Sol Duc

North Fork Sol Duc
Photo of Omar Jepperson by Thomas O'Keefe В© taken 11/23/01

River Description

FUN FACT: Whitewater through old-growth forest.

SEASON: Winter rain storms. Generally best when rivers are moderately high.

ACCESS: At mile 219.2 on Highway 101 take Soleduck 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 Soleduck Hot Springs Road and FS 2918 to get to the bridge, but it's a short hike with boats (the two roads are connected at mile 3.6, but it's gated). To reach the put-in continue up the road past Salmon Cascade to mile 8.3 where you'll find the North Fork trail head. It's a 1.2 mile hike to the put-in on a good hiking trail. It starts out as a climb up the ridge, but then it's downhill into the North Fork drainage. Note that Soleduck 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. They usually know the situation at the Resource Information Center in Forks 360-374-7566.


The best part of this run is the opportunity to paddle through old-growth forest. This is one of the most accessible wilderness runs on the Olympic Peninsula providing you with a glimpse of what these forests were a century ago. The downside, however, is the whitewater really is not all that great. Most of the run is fairly continuous class III to III+, but there are several large channel-spanning logs that create hazards requiring class IV moves to safely negotiate them. The hazard to enjoyment ratio is thus a bit higher than some of the other nearby runs and there are no real distinct drops or technical boulder gardens on the run. The best whitewater comes near the end as the gradient picks up a bit, but the bridge comes into view all too quickly and you're dumped onto the main stem. From here you'll find yourself on the final section of the Upper Sol Duc run. Despite the lack of whitewater features on the North Fork, it's still a neat experience to boat through the ancient forest, and if you've done all the other nearby runs and are looking for a bit of adventure you may find this one worth checking out.

lat/long approximated by Tiger map server

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
  • Olympic National Park web site


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-11-29 06:30:30


Rapid Descriptions

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Associated Projects

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