water wacko's Submission - Entered on 3/7/2015 7:03:00 AM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 3/30/2017 9:06:48 AM)
COWLITZ RIVER AT PACKWOOD, WA
3rd Party Gauge
||3/30/2017 8:00:00 AM
Minimum Recomended Level: 800 cfs Maximum Recomended Level: 1600 cfs
Access isn't too bad. Park at the campground, then do an 'out-and-around' type thing, driving. Drive about a mile? Then hike from a small unmarked trailhead beside the road for ~2 miles on a path then following ribbon at the end. Take the seventh or eighth gully down to the river, putting in below 2 massive logjams which are just around the corner from one another.
This is a true box canyon with few if any means of egress. Make sure you have enough provisions, and be sure the water isn't too high.
Another amazing canyon, courtesy of Mt Rainier!!
Run Description [Season: ]
The Lower Canyon of the Muddy Fork is a worthy adventure. Come prepared for paddling in a box canyon, because there are few if any means of egress. The hike in isn't too bad. You follow a path most of the way. A person could get toward the end where the trail just seems to vanish at certain points. Follow the trail as far as you can see until you can't, then start looking for ribbon hanging in the trees. This marks the rest of the way. You'll be hiking up the river right side, so know that as a consellation if you get lost. We found class IV-ish rapids in a box canyon with places to get out and scout, other places had boat-scouting options available. We portaged some wood, nothing scary. We paddled it on a cool day with not a lot of sun with about 700 on the Cowlitz @ Packwood gauge. The Ohane was sievey low, we paddled it the day after this trip. Tough to say what a high end would be on this run. The canyon is tight in a lot of places. Tighter than the Ohane, for sure. Lots of fun rapids, overall. It has a similar feel to the Carbon, but the rapids are easier. We found no BIG drops on this run either, which I would find comforting if I were in there and the water was high. That said, the rock is slightly unfriendly in places, and the water is totally silty, so keep a good eye for things just under the surface.