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Thunder Creek    Mile 4 to Colonial Creek Campground™ ©
Class V

River Mapplet
Put In Longitude : -121.05247 Putin
Put In Latitude : 48.6378149
Take Out Longitude : -121.09238 Take Out
Take Out Latitude : 48.6852432
County : Skagit Shuttle
   Gauge Information (Professor Paddle updated levels from THUNDER CREEK NEAR NEWHALEM, at 7/15/2020 3:18:37 PM)
Gauge Forecast Height Current Flow Authority Physical Update
THUNDER CREEK NEAR NEWHALEM, NWRFC | FC Page 7.74  1090 cfs  USGS - NWIS 07-15-2020 14:45:00
Minimum Recomended Level:  500 cfs     Maximum Recomended Level:  1200 cfs 

  Putin Details

To reach the put-in hike 4 Miles up the Thunder Creek Trail. Once you arrive to a small foot bridge at Mile 4 Begin pushing through the woods down to the river. There are 2 very large class V+ slides above around mile 4.1. Do not put in at the clearing at mile 4.3 this is above those slides.

  Takeout Details

Colonial Creek Campground off of HWY 20 just east of Diablo. This is also the putin.

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Thunder CreekWhitewater Forum

Features on this run

Feature Name Class
Trials V+
Chopsticks IV-V
Gutter IV-V
Dim Sum V
Mandarin Palace V
Mandarin Ledge IV-V
Sweet n Sour IV+
Triple Trust V
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  Other Issues

This run has seen quite a bit of traffic over the last few years since it became established as a late season treat. Unfortunately over the last year several rock slides and floods have changed the character of the run dramatically. KEEP A KEEN EYE OPEN ON YOUR RUNS BECAUSE THE DROPS ARE CHANGING EVERY YEAR!

   Run Description

* Quick Preface *
Changes to note:
1.Beginning ledges are much smaller and more like rapids not ledges.
2. Chopsticks is shorter like 3-4 ft now
3. 3 drops below chopsticks are now landslide style rapids not ledges.
4. Dim Sum is a little hairier now. First ledge is taller and steeper second ledge is also taller with a log wedged in it.
5. China Gorge has seen several changes. Wood in doors 1 & 3 and the main ledge is not a nasty hydraulick!

Thunder Creek is the late summer early fall cat&'s meow for those looking to hit a mini adventure run, but do not UNDER ESTIMATE IT. I don&'t have the stats and even if I did I would not post them because I am sure it is all very arguable, but basically this creek drains one of the largest glaciers in the state and the rough square mileage of drainage basin that empties into Thunder is in a class that only a few rivers have on the whole west coast. That means that it can react like a flash to weather patterns. I have already seen this creek double over night twice in person, and this year I have seen it triple over night once on the gauge which is very accurate. (ie it is right at the take out and does not include any unaffecting drainages etc..)

Why is this all important? Well it has a 4 mile hike in and because it is mild multple options are left open. Some may want to hike boats in then chill back at camp then hike back in and run it the next day, or run it one day, take out at the 2 mile mark at the end of the meat and hike back up drop boats, and come back in the next morning to run it. If your doing this the gauge rock is your only hope because there is no cell coverage out there. The concern I have is that someone would see our gauge rock photo&'s crash overnight and the next morning they would look at the rock and not see the exact difference jump on and receive and ass kickin. There are a few spots where that could easily happen too!

The first time run should be around 500 - 700. Those are probably the best levels too. From 800 - 1000 the run is filled in and fun but it will be a notch up if you don&'t know it or are not ready for a pushy creek. Over 1000 you should know this run, and if you don&'t you and your whole group should be very comfy with the first three rapids which are the easiest of the run and still offer a relatively easy exit from the canyon.

Thunder Creek, WA by Chris Tretwold from BWW on Vimeo.


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Trip NameTrip Date
Trip Report TitleDate
Onda Thunda6/16/2007
Thunder Creek Weekend8/26/2007

Beta Trail    
SubmissionBeta Submitted BySubmitted On
James's 1/21/2011 Run SubmissionJames1/21/2011 11:21:00 AM
James's 12/3/2009 Run SubmissionJames12/3/2009 9:07:00 AM
Erik's 8/28/2007 Run SubmissionErik8/28/2007 1:22:00 PM

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