Black River

Rochester, Washington

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2 Reviews
4 out of 5
The Black River southwest of Olympia is unique: a southern river placed in the Pacific Northwest, a placid fairyland stream, full of beautiful butterflies and bird life during the summer months, fantastic colors in autumn, and wildflowers in spring and summer. Even in winter this blackwater river suggests The Hobbit or Willow in its scenic beauty. Curling around the southeastern base of the Black Hills below Capitol Forest, it has excellent access, yet remains one of the most remote rivers in the state. Even in this 12-mile segment it offers great variety.
Paddling Washington: Routes in Washington State & the Inland Northwest

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Paddling Washington: Routes in Washington State & the Inland Northwest

by Verne Huser, Rich Landers, Dan Hansen, and Doug North (The Mountaineers Books)

The Black River southwest of Olympia is unique: a southern river placed in the Pacific Northwest, a placid fairyland stream, full of beautiful butterflies and bird life during the summer months, fantastic colors in autumn, and wildflowers in spring and summer.

Even in winter this blackwater river suggests The Hobbit or Willow in its scenic beauty. Curling around the southeastern base of the Black Hills below Capitol Forest, it has excellent access, yet remains one of the most remote rivers in the state. Even in this 12-mile segment it offers great variety.

©  Verne Huser, Rich Landers, Dan Hansen, and Doug North/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Rochester
Distance: 12
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 5 to 6 hours
Class: Class I
Season: Best: Year-round
Local Contacts: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website for Wildlife Areas and Access Points; Washington Department of Natural Resources, Forks Office
Local Maps: USGS Rochester, Oakville, Rochester
Driving Directions: Directions to Black River

Recent Trail Reviews

9/3/2005
0

We launched out of Black River Canoe Inc. which is in the town of Rochester just off of Littlerock road. The rive was indeed black and calm. It was hard to tell which way the current was flowing. Fortunately there was only a cool breeze that presented its problems at times. The river itself is well sheltered from development. Only during a couple of times did I notice a house or human structures. There were moments during the trip when I just stopped paddling and took in the silence around me. The river was so still and undisturbed that it reflected like a mirror the beautiful trees and the blue sky. There were a few pockets of wildlife along the river. mostly birds or sorts: raptors, ducks and a few great blue herons. My family completely enjoyed the 8 mile trip. It took about 4 hours to complete but our 5 year old found it in himself to relax and do some drawing of the dragonflies and other living creatures. Next, we hope to do the Black River/Chehalis river ride which should but more of a rapid ride.


11/9/2002
0

Reference Paddle Routes Of Western Washington. I paddled from the Alternate Access on School Land Road at RM 8.7 upstream to the access point at RM 16 near Littlerock, and then back to RM 8.7. The description is mostly accurate except the part about it being "a southern river" is a bit of a stretch. The only resemblance to a southern swamp is the color or tint of the water. I saw a couple of small motorized fishing boats at or downstream of the access at RM 8.7. Once I headed upstream, I saw no other boats of any kind for the entire trip. The current immediately above the RM 8.7 access is fairly fast, and requires some eddy hopping and vigorous paddling to make it upstream. The river was full of 30 inch salmon in varying stages of spawning and dying. It rained (go figure) most of the day, but was fairly warm. There is indeed a near "lake" between RM 11 and RM 16. Saw lots of ducks and geese, a few raptors, blackbirds, kingfishers, and small brown birds I could not identify. There are several houses along the river from RM 9 to RM 11 or so. After that there are no houses. The water quality is excellent. The entire 16 or so miles made for a tiring day. I recommend only doing this trip in the downstream direction.



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May 2018