Hoh River, Olympic Mtns, WA

Just ran the Hoh River with a friend of mine; great trip! The basics on the Hoh:

Upper Reaches: (National Park) Didn’t run this, looks class III-IV. Hiking acess via hiking trail to Mt. Olympus glacier meadows base camp. Difficult put-in.
Upper-Middle (National Park) Class II braided river with major sweepers & strainers.
Middle: Class II, mixture of minor braiding, meandering, and 2 bedrocks gorges with splashy, bouldery II - !!+ rapids.
Lower: Riffles & decent flow from below Hwy 101 bridge to the Pacific Ocean.

I’d estimate the Hoh river is about 100 miles long, running from the glacial basins of Mt. Olympus to the Pacific Ocean, through the Hoh temerate rainforest of Olympic National Park. Terrain varies from extremely steep & gorgey (upper reaches) to lowland river flats (the lower). We ran from Louis Meadows, about 10 miles into Olympic National park (put in just below the Upper Reaches) to the Pacific Ocean.

Forest: A++++++ Temperated old-growth rainforest. Beyond the Park boundary, this gives way to verdant third-growth forest.
Rapids: Class II.
Sweepers & Strainers in the Upper-Middle: Huge, numerous. Expect log jams, individual sweeper & strainer trees up to 5’ diameter (usually doug fir) spanning the whole river.
Sweepers in the Middle & Lower: Few & partial, mostly alder.

Best Short Trip Stretches:

  1. Little Rapids: Willoughby Creek to Highway 101 bridge. This section is a few miles long and goes through a bedrock gorge & has some fun, bouldery II rapids. There’s what I’d call a II+ just above the bridge.
  2. Timberboating: Louis Meadows to the Visitor Center is a great way to exit Olympic National Park & see the rainforest from another vantage if you like small chutes & cobbly riffles and don’t mind negotiating logjams. Louis meadows is about 10 miles up-trail. Class II w/ heavy timber fortification.

Weather Suggestion: The Hoh valley get something around 12 feet of rain annually, so it’s good to be ready for rain.

Where’d you put in? Take out? have heard of many packrafters over the last ten years or so doing the Hoh…sounds great.

Hi Roman,

We hiked down to Louis Meadows, about 10 miles above the Hoh Visitor Center, and put in there. From there, we went all the way to the Ocean. I’m not surprised it’s been packrafted quite a bit: it’s a very nice run, not hard, and well suited to the rafts, albeit with a lot of timber in it up high. I’d be interested to hear an account from someone who’s run the Upper.

Hi - has anyone done a packraft trip on the Hoh recently? I’d like to plan a weekend trip there, but I’m unfamiliar with the area, and where you’d put-in/take-out. I’m comfortable in up to class III rapids.