Cowlitz - 3. salmon hatchery to Blue Creek access (The Lower)


Cowlitz, Washington, US

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3. salmon hatchery to Blue Creek access (The Lower)

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 10 Miles
Avg. Gradient 9 fpm

Lower Cowlitz River


Lower Cowlitz River
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 10/30/10 @ 8500 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
COWLITZ RIVER BELOW MAYFIELD DAM, WA
usgs-14238000 1000 - 4000 cfs I-II 01h13m 8290 cfs (too high)


River Description

The Cowlitz River is well known as one of the most popular salmon fishing destinations in the state and you are more likely to see jet boaters with fishing gear than paddlers out for a float down the river. This section of the river is forested with evidence of some minor rural development along the river. There are a few rapids and while there is nothing above class II, high flows and swift currents typical throughout the winter make this a reach that should not be taken lightly.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-11-09 21:07:23

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.
August 19 2012 (1772 days ago)
dirtp1 (154819)
I ran this stretch on Sunday, 19 August for the first time when the flow was about 3000 cfs. This
was a great level. I only scraped the bottom once, and that was because I took the wrong channel. I
ran this in an inflatable kayak (Tributary Tomcat Tandem) with no problems. The rapids were very
easy Class II. I saw lots of people out in Intex inflatable rafts and recreational kayaks with no
sprayskirts, and they seemed to be fine. There were not a lot of strainers, but there were about
three places where the current would pull you into a strainer if you let it. One in particular was
on a curve to the left, where the current pulled strongly to the outside under a low-hanging tree.
Fortunately it's easy to avoid, as long as you're alert. This is my new favorite river in the
immediate area for solo floats.


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Associated Projects

  • Volcano Country (OR/WA)
    The rivers of Volcano Country within and surrounding the Gifford Pinchot National Forest represent some of the nation's most spectacular whitewater resources.