jP's Submission - Entered on 9/17/2009 11:11:00 AM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 3/23/2017 2:57:27 PM)
SKYKOMISH RIVER NEAR GOLD BAR
||NWRFC | FC Page
3rd Party Gauge
||3/23/2017 2:30:00 PM
Minimum Recomended Level: 500 cfs Maximum Recomended Level: 15000 cfs
There is an old put in at the base of Sunset Falls. Currently this access point is closed. Please do not put in there. Residents and land owners have made complaints and will have vechicles towed and fined.
There are two Access places for this run. The best is known as the Powerline Putin. At Hwy 2 mile 35.1 (just west of bridge across the Skykomish) take FR 6020 0.4 miles to a parking area near a big powerline tower. A trail a short distance beyond the parking area leads down to the river at a point just upstream of Powerline Rapid. Additional access points include Forest Service land at the Hwy 2 bridge at mile 35.1 (river left- this is where the North and South forks confluence), and on the North Fork at either the railroad bridge in the town of Index (river left) or Forest Service land (Llama Ledges) less than a mile south of Index (river right).
The railroad bridge over the Skykomish at Highway 2 mile 32.5 (elevation 295í). There is a parking area on the north side of Highway 2 with enough space for a half dozen cars (more if you get creative). There have been occasional problems with breakins to shuttle vehicles. Some pull off the road a few hundred yards upstream where the road is closer to the river at Split Rock(Highway 2 mile 32.9). Others, including rafters, takeout at the fishing access downstream (Highway 2 mile 30.4). If you plan on taking out at the Split Rock Wave/Pool be respectful to the property owner, and park on the southside of HWY 2.
The place to meet other Seattle-area boaters (paddle and be home for dinner). SkyFest has been held in yearís past, but there are no current plans to hold the festival. Although the Low Flow is 1000 cfs, boaters may be found regularly making runs through boulder drop and other parts of the river all the way down to 400!
Run Description [Season: Year Round]
This run is one of the most paddled in the State. Read Shane Turnbull's highly detailed description in the Bennett Book. With good flows year-round (at least on normal years), this run will have people on it every weekend. It has been run up to 50-60,000, but if you are just getting your feet wet, flows over 5,000 will feel very intimidating.
The run starts at the Powerline put-in with some small Class III rapids. There is a fun playspot that develops near the bottom of the first drop, so keep an eye out. Below here the river splits around a large rock/ gravel bar. Most people go left and dodge under the oldgrowth spanning the channel. Stay hard left and you will slip right under it. Be careful at higher flows.
Below the bridge there are more fun rapids with generous pools and long rock gardens with beautiful views of the Gunn Range and Mt. Baring. The first rapid below the bridge is straight forward and forgiving. Run right for the best waves. After the next pool the river bends left and then right through some boulders. This rapid is called "Garbage".Stay with the main flow and butter the biscuit at lower flows (perfect slide rock). Around the next corner is "Anderson Hole". It's a short, straightforward class III at low flows, but it forms a good sized hole that can be nasty at higher flows. Run right or left, the route on the left is easier.
In the distance you will see some large boudlers looming and the river drops out of sight. This is "Boulder Drop", the long, complex Class IV you will want to scout if you donít know the lines. Scout on the right, portage left or right (left is easier along the road). The lines through Boulder Drop change with different river flows, so if you are unfamiliar, SCOUT.
You can break this long rapid into three defined segments. Most paddlers enter it in the main channel on River Right, which affords too basic choices. Most go far right. This makes it easy to eddy out on the right in "The Bubble Pool", above the Picket Fence.
The second part of the rapid is called the "Picket Fence".At flows under 4,000, you can do the Airplane Turn, The Needle or Nedís Needle. Between 4-8,000 Nedís is the best line, and above 8,000 the mercy chute is the best bet. I have seen many different lines run at many different levels, but these are pretty good guidelines. Above 15,000, be very careful in this rapid. The Picket Fence itself becomes a monsterous hole (backed up by the House Rock) that has swam some of the best boaters in the world. Be warned.
Once you go past the House Rock, the last feature to contend with has been genericly refered to as "The Ledge". It has many routes you can take over it, but the most straightforward is generally down the far left. Often you can find various boofs near the pinaccle rock. Take care not to flip above the ledge. It's a jumbled mess of rocks and several paddlers have been injured here by washing over the ledge upside down.
Below Boulder Drop there's a few really great rapids. Directly below is "The Weir", which becomes an AMAZING surf wave at 15,000+, but can be a sticky ledge at lower levels. Run left of center down the tounge, but be aware of the sieve on the far left.
Below here is "Tsunami" which has some good waves and holes. As the river flattens for a momment and then bends left and then right, you are approaching "Lunch Hole". If you get stuck in there, youíll have more than enough time to eat your lunch, so its best to run hard right. Little lunch hole has been known to snag boaters who confidently paddle close to the lunch hole. There is a sneak far left at lower flows, but choose your line carfully. Nice beach below it on the right for lunch.
The next rapid is a real gem, perfectly named "Aquagasam". This rollercoaster is big, fun, and has some awesome hits. The lowest wave/ hole can flip rafts around 4-7,000 so beware. There is another boulder garden before you get to "Split Rock Ledge", the playspot and the takeout. You can see this one with a decent wave next to a large rock on the left. Eddy service behind the rock, but this wave is only good at certain flows. Takeout at the bridge below after running "Railroad" rapid (left of center or right of center), or at the actual Split Rock takeout.