Pin Creek

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Pin Creek Canyoneering Canyoning Caving
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Difficulty:3C II (v3a4 II)
Raps:‌5-6, max ↨60ft
Approach:10min ⟷686ft ↓100ft
Descent:2h ⟷0.6mi ↓300ft
Red Tape:No permit required
Shuttle:Optional 5min
Condition Reports:
17 Sep 2023

"Always a fun day in Pin Creek. There was much jumping.

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Best season:


Another nice tributary along the Lewis River which contains a beautiful section of narrows and falls concluding with Pin Creek Falls (35ft). Access is easy and straightforward. A short outing, but all-around fun. Destined to be another classic in the Lewis River area.

  • Watershed: 8.5mi^2. Highest point in the drainage is about 5200ft on Quartz Creek Ridge.


Stash a shuttle car at the exit where Pin Creek crosses under FR 90. This is also a good place to check the flow. Drive up FR 9085 to the first switchback and find a place to park; there's room for several cars.

From the parking area, hike roughly northwest through open forest for ~5min until dropping into Pin Creek. Head downstream. Reach the top of the technical section in 5-10min.

  • Shortcut approach: This option cuts off some of the pretty parts of the creek-walking. Entry into the creek is pretty steep, but it drops you right in above the narrow chute leading to R1.


For such a short section of creek, Lower Pin is surprisingly action-packed. It retains enough water to be fun into September. Be aware: jumps are a leading cause of canyon injuries (broken ankles & legs). Always send someone down to check the depth first & check for submerged obstacles.

Please do not leave webbing on unlinked bolts. This is a common technique in aquatic canyons.

  • The creek turns a corner and descends a 30ft low-angle chute. If high flow, bypass DCR.

Continue downstream a short distance. Upon turning the next corner:

  • Climb down to narrow opening. This is currently deep enough to climb up the rocks on either side and jump into the water. Caution: The logs above are getting rotten! R1 is on the far side of the pool.
  • R1: 35ft from two bolts DCR. (There are two bolts DCL on the far side of the pool below if you want to rig a guided rappel.)
  • R2: 25ft from vertical log in the pool. High flow: use a tree far DCR.
  • R3: 50ft rappel ... or downclimb to a nice 8ft jump (or relatively easy bypass). Then downclimb easily past a second small cascade or second short jump.
  • R4: 60ft from unlinked bolts (both DCL and DCR; DCL will put you in more flow) into The Punchbowl.

The Punchbowl is a terrific place to practice jumps at many different heights. The pool has been measured at ~20ft deep at its center in 2022. For the action seekers, climb up onto a huge old-growth log just over the pool (aka the Diving Board) and jump 30-35ft into the pool. Awesome!

  • R5: 25ft from single bolt DCR. Alternatively, jump or carefully downclimb DCR. Be sure to scout the pool carefully as some places are deeper than others. High water: bypass the chute from DCL; not a lot of great anchor options.
  • R6: Pin Creek Falls 35ft. There are several options. This waterfall is visited regularly by waterfall photographers, so please use unobtrusive webbing.
    • Low-moderate flow: Locate a small tree DCL and rig a 30ft retrievable traverse line down to an unlinked bolt station (glue-ins) just above a small pothole / bathtub on the left side of the falls. (As of September 2023, there's also an older bad expansion bolt here that should probably be decommissioned.)
    • High flow: rappel from a tree DCR.
    • Undecided: rappel from a single bolt in a boulder in creek center.


Head downstream 5min from the last falls to reach the bridge. To avoid bank erosion, pass under the bridge and find an easy exit immediately DCL.

  • Alternatively, if you don't have a shuttle, it's an easy hike back up through the forest. Takes about 15min.

Red tape


Beta sites

Trip reports and media


First known descent of Pin Creek was made by Keith Campbell in August 2017.


Information provided by automated processes. KML map by (unknown). Main photo by (unknown). Authors are listed in chronological order.

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