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Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls

Hood Canal + Eastern Olympic Peninsula, Washington

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Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls

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  • The put-in for Lake Kokanee is near the dam.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • Exploring the far end of the lake.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • Lake Kokanee winds it's way past a waterfall and finally dead ends at buoys.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • Flowers and logs are abundant along the banks of Lake Kokanee.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • Moss hangs from the trees along Lake Kokanee.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • Houses have line some of the cliffs around Lake Kokanee- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • A kayaker paddles toward the far end of the lake.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • A waterfall (best seen earlier in the season) can be seen along the shore of the lake.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • Signs warn of hazards along the shoreline.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • Lake Kokanee ends at buoys.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • Paddling on Lake Kokanee.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
  • The put-in for Lake Kokanee is near the dam.- Lake Kokanee to Kokanee Falls
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Short paddle. Scenic. Waterfalls.
Cons: 
Put-in can be hard to find.
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Region:
Hood Canal + Eastern Olympic Peninsula, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Site characteristics: Water: 
Lake
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Portage required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Contributor

One of the most frequented recreation destinations in Hood Canal is Lake Cushman. There is always a crowd eager to launch off of Big Rock, Lake Cushman Resort is bustling with activity, and it’s a rare occasion that a visitor can’t spot a fleet of candy-colored canoes and kayaks making quiet ripples in all corners of this pristine reservoir. Lesser known, however, and just as beautiful, is Lake Kokanee (also known as Lower Lake Cushman).

The dammed north fork of the Skokomish River is what feeds these two reservoirs and entices a wealth of wildlife to visit its shores. Keep a sharp eye and you might get a peek of black bear, Douglas squirrels, raccoons, river otter, bobcats, black-tailed deer, and the famed Roosevelt elk—the largest of the remaining four subspecies of elk in North America.

Though the put-in can be a bit elusive, be sure to pay keen attention to signs denoting private land as most of the shoreline belongs to private residences. Find the public access near the dam that’s situated at the southwest edge of the lake. This dam, Cushman Dam No. 2, provides power to the Tacoma Power system and maintains the reservoir as a placid, out-of-the-way kayaker haven.

Though the waterfall (a short-feeling 2mi. round trip) is at its prime in late winter to early summer, the paddle itself is easy and enjoyable year-round. The shoreline is thick with trees draped in old man’s beard (Usnea longissima), enhancing the already-mystical landscape and casting picturesque reflections. This rare lichen can grow up to several feet in length and is a strong indicator species of air pollution. 

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(8 within a 30 mile radius)

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(29 within a 30 mile radius)

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