Professor Paddle™ © Professor Paddle
  RegisterRegister  LoginLogin
Home Calendar Forum FSBO Gallery PPages News & Reviews Rivers Trips Links

Blair's Submission - Entered on 3/11/2011 12:09:00 AM

Return to Current Rivers Page
1 - Index/Powerline to Railroad Bridge
Class III+(IV+)
Play Rating (1-10): 7
County Snohomish
Zip Code 0
Put In Longitude -121.565780639648
Put In Latitude 47.8042484293993
Take Out Longitude -121.6156998
Take Out Latitude 47.8291016

   Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 5/25/2017 1:06:57 AM)
Gauge Forecast Height Current Flow Authority Physical Update
SKYKOMISH RIVER NEAR GOLD BAR NWRFC | FC Page 9.58  10100 cfs  3rd Party Gauge 5/25/2017 12:30:00 AM
Minimum Recomended Level:  500 cfs     Maximum Recomended Level:  7000 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 vehicles towed and fined.

Several other put-in's can be used without incident like: the Index put in on the North Fork. Park at the park in town and walk your boat to the river. Or at lower water (under 3000 or so) put in at Cable Drop. Drive up the South Fork road, which is just west of the confluence bridge. And when the water is lower yet, or you want a shorter trip, put in at the confluence along Hwy 2.

  Putin Details

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).

  Takeout Details

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.

 River Alerts GMaps
Not used in Beta Mode Putin | Take Out | Shuttle | General Area

Features on this run

Feature Name Feature Class
Llama Ledges III+
Cable Drop III
Garbage III
Anderson Hole III
Boulder drop IV+
The Wier III+
Bonsai III
Lunch Hole III+
Aquagasam III
Climax Wave III+
Split Rock Wave II+
Add a Feature | Re-Order Features

  Other Issues

LEVELS: The has been run as a very wide range of flows, from as low as 350, which it only reaches in drought years to over 60K (flooding).

400-1000: Low Low, but still fun. At these levels kayakers can easily break boulder drop down into 3 separate sections. Very low for rafts
1000-2000: Low, but very fun. Different lines start opening up in boulder drop. Entrance to BD is tight for rafts still.
2000-3000: Medium low, lines start to clean up and the river has some push to it. 2000 is often a low water cut-off for rafters.
3000-5000: Medium, the entrance to BD opens up nicely for rafts, waves and holes getting big
5000-7000: Medium-high, Everything is padded out, but expect some big holes and waves. Commercial rafts start flipping more often.
7000-15,000: BIG, Consider Boulder Drop class V and other rapids a half step harder. Except at the bottom of this range the Mercy Chute is usually the best option
15,000+: Really BIG! Big water, very fast. S**t happens on the Sky at these levels. Ask locals. Plenty of stories abound. Run only if you're a strong paddler with IV-V big water skills.

More info on flows in the run description below.

  Fun Facts

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 runs in the State. Read Shane Turnbull's highly detailed description in the Bennett Book. With boatabl flows year-round, this run can have people on it every weekend. It has been run as high as 85,000, It gets run above 25,000 more routinely, but if you are just getting your feet wet flows over 5,000 will feel very intimidating and over 15,000 is experts only.

At flows below 3,000 people generally put-in on the South Fork above Cable Drop, a short Class III rapid. There are fun playspots that develop throughout this 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 old-growth spanning the channel. Stay hard left and you will slip right under it. Be careful at higher flows.

When the Sky is running above 3,000 cfs most people put on the North Fork of the Sky in Index. It has some nice mixed boulder fields, rock gardens, and a few gravel bars. Boofs and playwaves can be found at most levels also.

Below the confluence of the N. and S. forks at the HWY 2 bridge (you can also put in here if you are so inclined) 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 and at flows under 2,000 a surgey fun pourover hole forms.

In the distance you will see some large boulders 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 two 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 most aggressive line. Paddle hard. The Needle is a hair easier, but a bigger move. 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 standard lines. Above 15,000, be very careful in this rapid. The Picket Fence itself becomes a monstrous hole with a horrible backwash. Be warned. Expect massive holes at high water.

Chutes and drops are run on the left as well. Choose your route carefully. You just may wind up stuffed behind a rock, or find some unsuspecting hole that'll grab your stern and suck you back in. The diversity of Boulder Drop is impressive. Formidable at high water, technical at lower flows with linked moves and big ferries possible. A great rapid aspiring creekers should get familiar with!

Once you go past House Rock, the last feature to contend with has been referred to as "The Ledge" and more commonly Ledge Wave. See Ledge Wave in all it's glory at 8,000 when rafts have about a 50/50 shot. Take care not to flip above the ledge. Getting washed over the last pitch of Boulder Drop, especially at flows under 3,000 can cause serious injury. 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 a really big surf wave at 15,000+, but can be a sticky ledge at lower levels. Use caution here at high water. Run left of center down the tongue, but be aware of the sieve on the far left.

Below here is Bonsai!! which has some good waves and holes. As the river flattens for a moment and then bends left and 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. Two other holes exist below Lunch Hole, waiting for the lilly dipper. Crunch and Munch might even recycle you a few times depending on flows. There is a tight line far left that runs right next to the hole, as well. It goes up to 5,000 as Lunch Hole begins to change shape. And at flows below 2,000 playboaters can find The Hot Pocket! about half way down on the left. A great little pourover playspot on the left below Lunch Hole proper, The Hot Pocket will give you a great workout. Snap a quick role and stay in the pocket! Just pay attention not to get sucked into the small siphon just next to and directly upstream of The Hot Pocket feature. Easy to miss, just keep an eye out.
The next rapid is a real gem and perfectly named: Aquagasm. This roller coaster ride is big, fun and has some awesome hits. The lowest wave/ hole can flip rafts around 4-7,000 so beware. The general line is to start right, drifting into the center, but watch out for a big hole that forms at higher flows called Pat's Plunge. It can be wicked. Aquagasm is always a blast.

Finally, there is one more boulder garden before you get to the Split Rock wave. Decent eddy service behind the split rock on river left, but as levels drop so does the quality of the wave and the eddy. Takeout at the bridge below, after running Railroad rapid (left of center or right of center), or at the actual Split Rock takeout. The Split Rock surf wave and actual Split Rock takeout are separated by a few hundred yards of flat water.

   - Since this last flood 1/11 I've surfed Split Rock at 5200 and 6000, both were great levels. Got on at 7500 too, but not as friendly or retentive.

*Boulder Drop at a level for class III boaters not ready for class IV, this level (shot around 600-700cfs) is friendly and has some great eddy hoppin fun! Also, the boulders exposed are quite the sight! The bottom of BD is the crux at this level and is easily portaged if you're unsure of your skill.*

™ © // Home / River Details In total there are 83 Active Users online, 83 Guest(s) and 0 Member(s)