Olympic Peninsula: Queets River

Post Reply
Shaggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:51 am

Olympic Peninsula: Queets River

Post by Shaggy » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:19 pm

The Queets is a great beginner river on the Olympic Peninsula, WA. It's one of the state's last real "wild" rivers, meandering through and unpopulated, roadless old-growth valley along the Pacific Coast.

Access: the trail is unmaintained. You'll need to bushwack or play trail-tracker to get upstream. The remnant trail runs along the North side of the river, opposite the trailhead, so you're best off jumping in the boat immediately and paddling across the river, then proceeding up from there.

Hazards: Wood. The river actively meanders, meaning it's still toppling old growth spruce & cedar into its waters in the natural cycle. Be alert for sweepers and logjams. Otherwise, there's one mellow Class 2 rapid and some riffles.

Depth: varies seasonally. The Queets is a good size river in the rainy season, and navigable throughout summer.

Weather: Rainy, cloudy, occasional sun. The Queets sits near the Hoh rainforest, between the Pacific Ocean and the olympic mountains. Recommend some warm clothing and a raincoat.

Temperature: A little chilly. Partly fed by olympic snowmelt.

You can basically hike as far as you like up the Queets Valley, all the way into the heart of the olympics, but even 15 or 20 miles up you're still in rainforest and hills, so it's not a fast trip into the high peaks. It's good for a day hike or overnight going up, then a fast float out. Technically, you could also look at doing a long approach to the mountains (perhaps Olympus), play in the high country, then use rafts to make your epic trip out a lot easier and more stylish.

Perks for the Burly: The the Queets is near the Washington Coast, meaning you can go play in the surf afterwards. Technically, you could float all the way to the ocean, but you'd end up a long, long ways from your rig if you only have one. In any case, the surf can be fun for the experienced and prepared. I usually find 2-3 foot swell.
All posts are personal opinions only.

"Boldness has a genius, power, and magic." -Goethe

mapurcel

Re: Olympic Peninsula: Queets River

Post by mapurcel » Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:55 pm

A couple friends and I were thinking of putting in (my raft) at the Queets campground and going all the way out to the ocean. We're not that experienced but all able bodied young guys - do you think that's a reasonable idea?

thanks

Shaggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:51 am

Re: Olympic Peninsula: Queets River

Post by Shaggy » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:04 am

I do - but I've never run that lower section. Looking at the map, I think it would be a really nice float. Klaloch lodge is out at the ocean there, so you can get a beer or coffee or burger when you get out, too.
All posts are personal opinions only.

"Boldness has a genius, power, and magic." -Goethe

Myhousemoves

Re: Olympic Peninsula: Queets River

Post by Myhousemoves » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:15 am

I just hiked down the upper Queets (wishing I had my Packraft! But alas, I was working!). I just wanted to mention a few significant rapids.

There are some small rapids in the upper reaches of the Queets, mostly of the drop/pool variety. They appeared to be class II or II+. The Queets is beautiful in this upper section, as it sits in a 100'-150' wide and 40'-80' deep gorge for several miles. The bushwhacking was STRENUOUS!! Lower, but still high on the Queest, the largest rapid begins near the confluence of the Queets and Kilkelley Creek. This section was a huge boulder garden that looked very fun and technical. The rapid was continuous for close to 1 mile. It appeared class III+ or even IV.

It is possible to access the Queets from Bear Pass (on the northern edge of the Bailey Range). There is a significant waterfall (marked on the map as "Falls") that I did not scout. This would be a very interesting place to explore!

BigJon1488
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:07 pm

Re: Olympic Peninsula: Queets River

Post by BigJon1488 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:26 am

The Queets is an amazing packraft trip. I did it 3 years ago and want to go back really bad. There was some wood and class III rapids, but manageable. The trail and river are fairly remote and the beginning portage makes it more isolated. We saw a ton of elk and bear on the trail and river. Below is a link to some video I shot of the trip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IMa23NT02M

Cheers,

Jon D

ben
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:30 pm

Re: Olympic Peninsula: Queets River

Post by ben » Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:30 am

I paddled the Queets from just below the confluence with Paull Creek to South Beach campground, which is about 2 miles north of the mouth of the river, then did a bike shuttle back to the NF Quinault. I carried one nasty class IV-V rapid with a lot of wood in it, and carried around a few log jams lower down. There were a few Class III rapids in the upper stretch, but it was mostly class I-II. It is an AMAZING old-growth rainforest.

rrsterling
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:37 pm

Re: Olympic Peninsula: Queets River

Post by rrsterling » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:24 pm

Ben thanks for sharing about your trip. I've run the queets a handful of times, most recently this fall, but have only hiked up 7-8mi (estimating) before putting in. Never up from Paull crk.h Curious if you went recently, and if so what the condition of the queets river trail was in? Also, did you get dropped off at queets river campground? Is there access to the upper areas of the queets from the NF Quinnalt? I didn't really understand the bike shuttle route you mentioned.
Cheers
Robie

ben
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:30 pm

Re: Olympic Peninsula: Queets River

Post by ben » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:38 pm

Hi Robie,
I dropped my bike off at the South Beach State park, then parked the car at the Skyline Trailhead, on the NF Quinault (North Shore Road past Lake Quinault). Hiked the Skyline Trail to Lake Beauty (needed crampons in July), then cross country down to the Queets. Paddled down to the ocean and up along the coast to South Beach State Park. The Queets Trail looked pretty overgrown, but I was only on it for the portage.
Best,
Ben

Post Reply