Freshwater Bay to the Elwha River

Lower Elwha Indian Reservation, Washington 98343

Freshwater Bay to the Elwha River

Freshwater Bay to the Elwha River Professional Review and Guide

"In 2011, the largest dam-removal project in North America began to remove the Elwha River’s two dams. Aside from preventing the upstream travel of the river’s once 100-pound salmon, the dams also prevented a natural flow of silt into the strait. In time beaches west of Port Angeles began to erode, leaving rock- and boulder-strewn shorelines, and residents scrambling to protect their homes from eroding away.

The S’Klallam people have a rich history here as do the Makah tribe farther west, who often raided the S’Klallam for slaves. The Lower Elwha River tribe, based on the east side of the river, now fish and launch their canoes from the river. Local angler’s trails can be followed upriver for miles below the eroding bluffs. Driftwood shelters from beachcombers can be found near the mouth of the river, which sometimes last through several winters. Wildlife is abundant at the mouth."

Freshwater Bay to the Elwha River Reviews

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Excellent paddle! 3 solid days. About 50 miles covered. Entry/exit-Port Browning (North Pender Island). Route: Day #1: Port Browning to Cabbage Island (north of Saturna Island). Paddle across Plumper Sound, along southeast coast of Saturna Is...excellent steep cliffs above, rip tide around East Point was OK. Tumbo Island pretty cool (new member of Canadian National Parks). 5 campsites on Cabbage. Nice island. Day #2: Cabbage Island to Prevost Island. Long paddle day. North of Saturna, heading west to Belle Island Islets, lunch on Anniversary Island (cool campsites in grass above water). Lots of harbor seals, sea otters, bald eagles. Via Boat Pass (strong tide, but no problem) and Winter Cove. Long paddle along south of Mayne Island and up Navy Channel. Crossing Swanson Channel was hairy (high wind/waves and huge ferry boats passing by). Camped on Red Islets (amazing location looking across channel, view ferry lights at night). Only 2 campsites. Day #3: Prevost Island to Port Browning. Went clockwise around Prevost. Great paddle. Worth the extra effort. Numerous inlets to explore (Annette, etc.). Views of larger Saltspring Island to west and Galiano Island to north. OK campsites on Hawkins Island (north side of Prevost). Calmer crossing of Swanson Channel this time to North Pender Island. Long paddle down west coast (orcas seen here by others). HUGE rain storm hit us. Paddling was fine though. Rounded Wallace Point and calm/sunny Bedwell Harbour. Brief rest at Beaumont Marine Park (good trails, larger group campsites). Nice quiet harbour area. Back via Pender Canal under old wooden bridge to car. Again, great trip to see Pender, Saturna and Prevost. Strongly recommend. Just get ready to paddle a lot! Enjoy.

Freshwater Bay to the Elwha River Photos

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Trail Information

Lower Elwha Indian Reservation
Nearby City
Skill Level
Part Day To Full Day.
Spring to Fall
Noaa chart 18465 (1:80,000); race rocks current tables (adjusted for angeles point) or the Canadian Current Atlas. Check swell direction, size, and wind predictions from various surf forecast websites.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018