Queets - Queets Campground to Hartzell Launch

Queets, Washington, US


Queets Campground to Hartzell Launch

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 9.3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 17 fpm

Queets River

Queets River
Photo by Tim Hyatt

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-12040500 1500 - 10000 cfs II 00h16m 33600 cfs (too high)

River Description

SEASON: Throughout the winter

TAKEOUT: To reach the takeout, turn onto the Queets River Road which leaves Highway 101 at mile 144.6. At Queets River Road mile 1.9 you'll find the Hartzell boat launch. 

PUT-IN: The Queets River Road is washed out near Matheny Creek so to reach the put-in you need to go back out to Highway 101 and travel south to mile 137.5 where you take FR 21 east (this is also marked as West Boundary Road). Follow FR 21 to mile 8.2 and turn left onto FR 2180 and follow the signs where this road forks to the left at FR 2180-100 (aka Q2100). This road heads down to the Queets River corridor. Head upstream to the end of the road at the campground right at the top of Sam's Rapid (road mile 13.5). The road continues another 0.2 miles beyond the campground to the confluence with Sam's Creek. If you don't want to do the long shuttle around on Highway 101 you can go downstream on the upper segment of the Queets River Road and the launch at Streator Crossing which is at mile 5.5.


While the Queets is known more for its steelhead fishing than its whitewater, the gauge is an important one for whitewater boaters. Here's what it can tell you with respect to whitewater conditions on the Olympic Peninsula. It's normally the first gauge to check when planning your long weekend trip to the O.P.

< 1000
It must be the middle of summer, nothing to boat
Some of the O.P. canyon runs may have enough water
Still at the low end but options start to improve
Plenty of options start to open up
Although some runs may be geting too high, most everything is running
Never lasts long, everything is high, go check the Soleduck Mosh Pit
Now we're talking power, expect to start seeing large wood moving down the rivers and flood conditions
Very rare, a good idea to stay off forest roads as landslides become frequent at poorly engineered culverts

The Queets is not much of a whitewater run as there is really only one section near the put-in with any kind of a rapid. The action is in the tributaries with the Clearwater, Matheny, Sam's, and Tsheltshy all providing excellent whitewater opportunities.

Starting at the campground put-in you'll be treated to Sam's Rapid. It might be a stretch to call it a full class II, but you could easily wrap an open canoe if you swamped. While the rest of the run is not that challenging for experienced paddlers, you'll find a few fun sections of class II- boulder gardens and chutes along with some immense log jams that can create class III hazards. If you do run this river use caution and remember that this is a big river with plenty of power and some nasty strainers. True to its rainforest setting, the Queets has an annual discharge 1/4 of the Colorado River yet drains 1/250 of the land area. It's a unique river with all of the headwater sections and most of the main stem protected within Olympic National Park (the lower Clearwater and Matheny tributaries are notable exceptions to this protected status as their watersheds were hammered during the last big logging operations in the 1980's.) The Queets is one of a very small handful of large floodplain rivers in the country that's allowed to meander freely across the valley floor. Old growth forests, young alder stands, and stately cottonwood create an incredibly beautiful mosaic of vegetation. (video clip from the river 1.2 MB)

for additional information see:

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-06-25 17:24:25


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 15 2011 (2614 days ago)
ROADHOG (153606)
Past Queets, a brown sign for Queets River Road. The upper river road is at the second brown sign,
first miles are paved.
May 23 2010 (3124 days ago)
Kathy SpencerDetails
In 2005 two slides caused the Queets River Road to be closed at Matheny Creek. Another way into the
Queets Campground was devised. There is a map at
http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/upload/QueetsnewaccessWbanner.pdf (It is not easy to find
this map at the Olympic National Park site without the link.)

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Or, consider donating


Associated Projects

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