water wacko's Submission - Entered on 3/25/2015 6:07:00 PM
Notes: It appears the Toutle gauge hasn't updated for almost a year on PP, but the USGS is current. What up?
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 2/20/2017 6:54:32 PM)
TOUTLE RIVER AT TOWER ROAD NE
3rd Party Gauge
||2/20/2017 6:00:00 PM
Minimum Recomended Level: 1800 Maximum Recomended Level: 4000
From I-5 take exit 32 and head up the Kalama River Road. It's a ways up this road, and you will pass the lower and middle sections on your way.
Multiple put-ins for a variety of runs:
Starting from the take-out and heading up Kalama River Road:
4 Miles: Road 6000/6600: This road goes down hill a short ways to Jack's Creek Bridge. Take out here to avoid Double Drop. Difficult take-out for rafts. Not bad for kayaks
10 Miles: Road 7200: Turn right and put-in at bridge. Easy access
11.5 Miles Road 7300: Just like the 7200 access, but 1.5 miles further up
14.5 Miles: Upper Put-in at bridge over Kalama
Gobar Creek. You'll pass the weyerhauser gate (hopefully open) and about 1/2 mile further a road takes off to the right and crosses a bridge. This is the takeout. Nice trail on river right upstream side.
The run is on Weyerhauser land. The gate is usually only open for recreational use during hunting season, so look to run this river from mid-October to late-December. Wear your blaze orange PFD. For current information call 1-866 -636-6531 (hit 2, then 2 again, and 5). UPDATE: Weyerhausers' access info can now be accessed online at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/Businesses/RecreationalAccess/Washington - click on the link for the Longview Recreational Access Hotline Script.
Despite that it runs through a tree farm, the scenery is spectacular. Much of this run flows through beautiful canyons lined with ferns and side creeks plunging over waterfalls. With 2 more sections of whitewater downstream the Kalama is one of the longer whitewater rivers in western Washington.
Run Description [Season: Rainy-Fall]
This is a beautiful run with some nice canyons and moderate, pool-drop whitewater. The run basically breaks into 3 sections. The lower section from Jack's creek bridge to Gobar includes "double drop" the one class 4 rapid on the run. The middle run from road 7200 or 7300 to Jacks bridge is class 3 with lots of nice pool drop rapids. I've never run the upper section, since whenever I've been up there it looks too low, but I understand it's more class 2-3.
There's no gauge on the Kalama, so the Toutle is usually used as a reference. You can run the lower sections with around 1500 but 2000 or more is better. The upper 4 miles is above a lot of tributaries and always seems low when I've been up there, maybe 3000 on the Toutle would be enough for this section. At the higher end of recommended flows expect double drop to be a powerful class 4.
This is from Road 7300 down. If you have experience on the upper 4 miles, please add it.
Starting at the 7300 Road bridge the river starts out in a wide valley with a gravelly river bed. Most rapids are class 2 and you may find a downed tree or two to contend with. A mile or 2 downstream you'll pass the 7200 Road Bridge. A short distance past this bridge you'll come to a nice class three as the river bends left and starts to enter a nice canyon. This rapid sets the stage for most of the rest of the run. The next few miles the Kalama bends it's way through beautiful canyons with lots of nice pool drop rapids. At moderate levels it's fairly easy class 3, although high water may get burly in places. As of 12/2010 there were only a few logs in the river and they were easy to spot and avoid. Logs could be an issue on this run so keep an eye out.
The action mellows out after 4 or 5 miles and after some easy drifting the Jack's Creek bridge appears. About a half-mile past the bridge watch as the river makes a bend to the left. After this bend the river goes though a straight section for a few hundred yards with a class 3 rapid near the end. Double Drop appears right after this. If it's your first time, you probably want to scout. There are 2 eddies on the left above double drop. The upper one is bigger but requires more scrambling to get down and scout, but the lower one has a steep bank (there's not a good spot to leave your boat as you head down to scout here) and may get hard to catch at high water. You can scout along the left bank, but it's a steep bank so be careful. If it's icy it would be very treacherous. You can portage along river left, with difficulty. You would probably have to carry up into the trees. Double drop itself involves a powerful riverwide ledge followed by a second ledge split by a mid-stream rock. Right side on both ledges is usually the preferred route.
Below Double Drop are more canyons with nice pool-drop class 2 and 3 rapids for a couple miles and then the action slows down to easy drifting for the last stretch to the take-out.
And if 15 miles wasn't enough, you can always continue down the middle section (http://professorpaddle.com/rivers/riverdetails.asp?riverid=476)