Skykomish River Rafting Guidebook
While we call this section the Skykomish, you won’t be on the main stem until your first turn. You’ll put in on the South Fork of the Skykomish before merging with the North Fork of the Skykomish which together form the Skykomish. This section of the river is well known for its fishing as well as its rafting. The majority of this section is Class III, but Boulder Drop is considered to be Class IV/IV+ depending on the flows. It’s a short section, with a quick shuttle, so many boaters will do several laps in a day.
Skykomish River Map & Guide
WARNING: Conditions change frequently and may make this guide useless. This guide is NOT a replacement for sound judgment or experience.
Point of Interest
Bridges, private property, etc.
Raft Surf Wave
Indicates well known surf waves.
Put-In / Take-Out
The most commonly used access points.
Class II Rapid
Class II rapid or river feature.
Class III Rapid
Class III rapid or river feature.
Class IV Rapid
Class IV rapid or river feature.
Skykomish River – Class II, III & IV
This section ties together the South Fork of the Skykomish with the North Fork of the Skykomish, together forming the main stem of the Skykomish.
Cable Drop Put-In to Big Eddy Fishing Access is 6.7 miles.
Moderate to Advanced
The Skykomish River drops ~35 feet per mile.
Cable Drop Put-In to Big Eddy Fishing Access is 15 minutes round trip. Google Map directions.
Mile 0 – Put-In: This is also a trailhead for hiking and it gets very busy on weekends. There is a boat ramp to carry your boat down. This is above the Skykomish river confluence on the South Fork. At flows below 1500, this section will be too low for rafts. The bridge on Hwy 2 right at the confluence could be used as a low water put-in, however, parking is limited and you will have to carry the boat down sideways due to narrow pathway.”
Mile 0.05 – Cable Drop: Class III+. You can go right or left of the channel, beware of the large rock in the middle.
Mile 0.601 – Skykomish Bridge: Around a half mile into your journey, the river passes underneath the Skykomish Brigde
Mile 0.67 – North Fork Skykomish River Confluence: River Right. The North Fork of the Skykomish River meets the South Fork of the Skykomish, giving way to the Skykomish River
Mile 1.4 – Garbage: Class III. Appears as the river bends left. Stay with the main flow and keep your eyes peeled for some large boulders.
Mile 1.67 – Anderson Hole: Class III. As you turn the corner after finishing Garbage rapid, you’ll see this short straightforward rapid. Watch out for the hole in higher flows.
Mile 1.82 – Boulder Drop: Class IV. This is a long rapid, with different lines depending on the flows. A swim could be dangerous. Scouting on the left is highly recommended if you have not ran it at the level of the flow before. Learn more about Boulder Drop Rapid.
Mile 2.02 – The Weir: Class III. Directly below Boulder Drop, this is a very short straightforward class III., It becomes a big hole at flows above 15,000.
Mile 2.42 – Lunch Hole: Class III+. The hole that gives it’s name to this rapid is on the left river bank. You’ll see it when the river bends left and then right again where the hole is. Start on the left channel and paddle wide right to avoid it. You can boof over and “punch” it at around 3,000, but beware that the hole is somewhat retentive at flows above 3,000 and below 5,000.
Mile 2.58 – Aquagasm: Class III. This is a very fun rapid that creates a rollercoaster waver train on center right. Line up well and enjoy.
Mile 3.04 – Split Rock: River Left. Put-in/Take out This is the large eddy on river left. You’ll notice a big boulder that is split in half right before.
Mile 3.11 – Rapid #1: Class II. Just downstream of the Split Rock Put-In is a small riffle. You’ll pass under an old bridge.
Mile 3.2 – Second Bridge: The second bridge passes over the Skykomish River just below the Split Rock Put-In.
Mile 3.85 – Austin Creek Confluence: River Right. Austin Creek enters the Skykomish from the right hand side
Mile 5.29 – Fisherman’s Rapid: Class III. This is a popular fishing spot, and you’ll see many people fishing on river banks.
Mile 5.94 – Proctor Rapid: Class III. At above 5000 there will be a hole right in the middle. Otherwise, T-up the big waves in this fun rapid.
Mile 6.38 – Unnamed Rapid #2: Class II. This is the last rapid of the Skykomish, and will take you almost under Stevens Pass Bridge before take-out
Mile 6.6 – Steven’s Pass Bridge: Just above the takeout, the Stevens River Bridge crosses over the Skykomish. This is the last of the bridges you will see.
Mile 6.71 – Big Eddy: River Left. Take-out. Once you pass under the highway, you will see a railroad bridge. The Big Eddy take-out boat ramp is right above the bridge on river left. Expect this place to be packed on summer weekends as it is a popular swimming spot, and launch spot for fishing rafts.
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