JoesKayak's Submission - Entered on 4/6/2015 4:12:00 PM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 3/23/2017 2:57:27 PM)
SF STILLAGUAMISH RIVER NEAR G
||NWRFC | FC Page
3rd Party Gauge
||3/23/2017 2:15:00 PM
Minimum Recomended Level: 4.8 ft Maximum Recomended Level: 6.5 ft
This run has good access with well developed put-ins and take-outs. Its pretty close to Seattle too, making it a good run for the after-work adreneline junkie. Its also short enough to get a few laps in.
Take Highway 92 east to Granite Falls. Once in town this road becomes Stanley Street. Follow this to the other side of town and turn left on Mountain Loop Highway. From here itís 2.1 miles to the turnoff for Canyon Drive (124th St NE). Follow Canyon Drive 0.7 miles to a fishing access point with parking for the put-in on the right. This put-in is at the bottom of the hill where the road bends to the left and is easy to miss.
There is another put-in .2 miles down just before the road crosses the creek. Putting in here makes for an easy scout of the first ledge from the small park next to the rapid. If you put in here, there is a small trail marked by a "Public Fishing" access sign that leads down to the river between 2 houses. Please be respectful of the homeowners.
A Discover Pass or WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife parking permit is required at both of these put-ins.
To reach the take-out, head back through Granite Falls the way you came and on the west side of town Jordan road turns off to the north. Follow this road 1.0 miles to the bridge across the South Fork Stillaguamish. Just after you cross the bridge turn right on Bergan Road which quickly ends at a county river access on the upstream river right side of the bridge. The total shuttle distance is 4.4 miles. No permit is required here.
Can be paddled in less than 10 minutes. If you have a friend running shuttle, you may be able to beat them back to the take out.
In the Fall, Salmon choke this run. They jump around your boat in the rapids and you bump them with your paddle in the eddies.
Run Description [Season: Rainy - Snowmelt]
Canyon Creek is a real gem: close to Seattle, beautiful canyon, adrenaline packed run, great rapids, and short shuttle for multiple runs.
NOTE: UNFORTUNATELY AT THIS TIME TIME THE CC GAUGE IS NOT OPERATING... "This station has been shut down indefinitely due to severe bank erosion in the area of the gage."
For now, The South Fork Stillaguamish gauge will be used for this run although it is not a great correlation. The Dept of Ecology realtime gauge on CC that is a much better indicator... hopefully it will be up and running again. If you notice the CC gage working, please let us know! Check it out here:
CANYON CREEK AT MASONIC PARK
Levels below on the CC DOE gauge (in parenthesis is a ROUGH correlation on the SF Stilly gauge):
200 - 300 cfs (4.7-5.1 ft): Low but runnable. The main drops channel up pretty well but you're going to hit some rocks.
300 - 450 cfs (5.1 to 5.7) : Medium. The rocks are padded out nicely but the drops get faster and pushier the higher you go. There's a couple of holes at these levels that can get you too.
450+ cfs (5.7 +): High flow. CC has definitely been run many times at higher water but it is pushing more towards class V than class IV.
If you use the upper put-in, you'll have a few hundred yards of Class II warm up before you reach the first rapid. The first rapid (FIrst Ledge or Bridge Drop - IV-V) is a river wide ledge that is incredibly sticky. Many good boaters have swum out of this one. Pick your line left or right around the rock just above the ledge - both lines work - and paddle hard through the hole at the bottom. As soon as you clear the hole, turn right and line up for the second half of the drop. This part is a straight forward drop although a lot of paddlers hang up on the rocks just below it. Hang out in the pool below and wait for the rest of your group to clear the ledge.
Once you leave the first ledge, the river enters a gorgeous canyon.
The 2nd rapid (IV-) has a nice boof if you take the right line around the rock. The left line is a clean chute along the wall.
The 3rd rapid (III+ - IV) is always bumpy. Start center and work left. At the bottom, you want to be along the far left wall for the deepest line.
The 4th rapid or "Headwall Drop" (III-IV) is constantly changing. As of the end of 2009, the best line is starting left and then running the tongue down the center. The right hand line here has been the site of several nasty pins. If no one in your group has run this recently, plan on scouting from either the right or left bank. The portage is on the left.
After Headwall drop there is a small eddy before the next rapids starts. The riverbed has shifted a bit and there is less of an eddy now than in the past, and at higher flows, Headwall rapids can start to merge in to the next drop.
Next after Headwall is Double Drop (IV-V). Double Drop starts with a some lead-in rapids (III-IV) that consist of a couple small ledges and holes that can pack a punch. After the entry moves there's an eddy on the right in an alcove that you can use to plan your move for the main drop. At lower levels you can catch a few eddies mid-stream here behind rocks to boat scout the main drop. The main drop is split into to channels by a couple of big mid-channel boulders. The usual line is to bomb down the right side though a couple of steep ledges (the double drop). At some flows there's a small entry ledge here that actually makes it more of a triple drop. Line your boat down the center of the right channel and enjoy the ride. The left side can be run too, but is generally mankier and more prone to wood collecting. (as of Feb 2014 there was wood in the left channel)
A small pool after Double Drop leads to the 6th drop (IV+ - V), formerly known as "Big Drop" or Boulder Garden" but in recent years has picked up the name "Landslide" due to the landslide that dropped down at the entrance of this rapid, changing the entry more. UPDATE 12/20/2010: The recent floods dramatically changed the entrance to this rapid.
Landslide is probably the longest and most technically challenging drops on the run. There are a couple different moves possible at the entrance, but generally the move is to start center and move hard left, avoiding getting pulled into the boulder sieve in the middle. You can portage, with some difficulty on the right over, a couple large boulders. It's also possible to portage/sneak the entrance on the left at some levels. After the entrance the rapid continues for about 100 yards of class IV boogie water that leads to a sticky ledge hole. The hole is between two large rocks that close the holeís ends like a lowhead dam. It is about 6 feet wide and cannot be avoided without portaging. Paddle and boof hard.
After Landslide is the 7th drop, a fun, but manly class III boulder garden.
The next rapid is a fast flume with a steep cliff wall on the right.
The final drop is a small ledge that has mellowed a bit in the last few years, but still managed to get onto the blooper reel of the video below.
Paddle down about 5 minutes to the confluence with the Stillaguamish and the take-out on the right. Drink water, squeeze out adrenal glands, and get ready for second run.