JoesKayak's Submission - Entered on 11/12/2009 11:35:00 AM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 3/23/2017 10:46:43 AM)
TOUTLE RIVER AT TOWER ROAD NE
3rd Party Gauge
||3/23/2017 10:00:00 AM
Minimum Recomended Level: 1000 cfs Maximum Recomended Level: 3000 cfs
Take the Castle Rock exit from I-5 and head east out Hwy 504.
From the take-out, continue on Tower road on the north side of the river until you reach Highway 504. Turn right and continue until you reach the bridge over the river and put-in. You can also backtrack from Tower Road bridge and come east on HWy 504, the distance is about the same.
You can also head up the SF Toutle road and put-in on the South Fork if you prefer.
A few miles from Castle Rock take a left at the Y onto Tower Road. Continue until you reach the bridge, the take out.
See a river corridor in the process of repairing itself after the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens.
Run Description [Season: rainy]
This is a unique river trip which shows the damage caused from the Mt. St. Helens eruptions. There's some pretty nice rapids too.
Below the put-in you quickly come to the first set of good rapids. Stairsteps comes first followed by Tempest in a Teapot. Both rapids are 3-4 depending on flows. Stairsteps is generally easier on the right, and sometimes has a logjam on the left. At high water you can sneak Teapot on the left.
Below these rapids, the river widens out and becomes quite flat for a few miles. This section is quite scenic in a volcano devastated kind of way.
At the end of this section, the river canyons up and eventually comes to Hollywood Gorge Rapids, class 4. This rapids starts with a riverwide ledge split by a rock and then fast currents leading to a "recommended to avoid" hole on the left. This rapid gets real burly at high water, however at high levels a sneak route around to the top ledge opens up on the right. Hollywood Gorge can be scouted or portaged on the right. Below Hollywood, there are a few more class 3 rapids and then the river eventually mellows out before the takeout at Tower bridge.
The run is class 3-3+ with the exception of Hollywood Gorge (which can be portaged) at 1000-3000, experienced paddlers can definitely run it higher levels though (expect to find some BIG holes).
Wood is occasionally a concern on this run. Keep a look out.