Sol Duc, S. Fork - FR 2920 Bridge to FR 2918 Bridge

Sol Duc, S. Fork, Washington, US


FR 2920 Bridge to FR 2918 Bridge

Usual Difficulty IV+ (for normal flows)
Length 3.2 Miles
Max Gradient 130 fpm

South Fork Soleduck

South Fork Soleduck
Photo of Eric Bessette by Tom O'Keefe taken 01/01/03 @ 2.8'

River Description

FUN FACT: Fun river when there's water to fill in the boulder gardens.

SEASON: Winter rain storms. Generally best when rivers are moderately high but not flooding.

ACCESS: From Highway 101 mile 216.4 turn south on FR 2918. Follow this road to mile 3.0 and the bridge across the Soleduck. This is the takeout or use an access downstream closer to Highway 101. To reach the put-in continue up FR 2918 (bear left at the fork) and get a visual peak at the level from the bridge at mile 4.1. Continue on up to mile 5.5 and turn right on FR 2920. It's 0.2 miles to the bridge across the South Fork.


If you arrive to run the Sol Duc in mid-winter and find the gate to the National Park road locked you can always go and run the South Fork. This is a great little run with constant action all the way to the confluence of the Sol Duc, a distance of 1.8 miles. It's one of those runs that packs plenty of action into a short distance. Once on the Sol Duc you still have another 1.5 miles of fun whitewater including the nice ledge drop upstream of the gauge station.

You can get an idea of flows as you cross the South Fork at its confluence with the mainstem about halfway on the shuttle to the put-in. If you've got enough water to bounce down through these boulder gardens under the bridge across the South Fork, the gorge section will still be really fun. If the rocks are all covered and the river is high you'll probably have your hands full in the gorge. Look for something in between.

The run starts out with continuous boulder gardens and short little ledges for about a mile or so. You'll be moving fast and the eddies are tight. There is a lot of wood in this system so stay alert and keep your spacing as you may have to make a portage or two.

As the bedrock walls rise up on both sides of the river you enter the gorge. The gorge has about 5 great rapids with the entrance rapid and Ross's Drop standing out as the most challenging of the sequence. These drops are mostly IV+ with good recovery sections in between but at higher flows this whole section becomes class V. Expect to encounter a couple of holes. Use caution as portaging can be difficult and log hazards can be significant.

The gorge walls slowly peel back with more fun class III rapids and a beautiful waterfall that cascades in from the left, before you reach the confluence of Tom Creek. The FR 2918 Bridge and the confluence with the Soleduck is just around the corner. The river then dumps into the main stem for the final section of the Upper Sol Duc run.

for additional information see

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-11-26 18:36:38

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)

Rapid Descriptions

Gorge (Class IV+, Mile 1.5)

South Fork Gorge

South Fork Gorge
Photo of Omar Jepperson by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 11/23/12 @ 0 cfs

The South Fork Sol Duc Gorge. You will recognize the approach by a steep slope on river left and a floodplain terrace on river left as the river takes a hard bend to the right and then turns back left to drop into the gorge.

confluence (Class N/A, Mile 1.8)

South Fork confluence with mainstem Sol Duc. 

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
November 26 2012 (2124 days ago)
Thomas O'KeefeDetails
We did the run over Thanksgiving weekend at flows of 4400 cfs on the Calawah gage and 10,000 cfs on
the Hoh. At this flow the rapids were filled in very nicely but the wood hazards came up very
quickly and presented some significant safety issues. There were 3 mandatory portages, and all came
up quickly around blind corners with minimal eddy space--there were more than a dozen additional
pieces of wood that were in play particularly in the upper section above the gorge. Of the
portages, two were in the upper section and the third was in the middle of the gorge just around
the corner from the entrance rapid (i.e. not visible when looking down into the gorge from the
upstream end). I would not recommend the run at higher flows unless some of the wood clears--it has
been cleaner in the past.
December 2 2003 (5406 days ago)
Thomas O'KeefeDetails
As of 1DEC03, the drops in the gorge were clean.

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