North Fork Skykomish Road Repairs to Start (WA)
After years of engineering and environmental analysis, and some legal challenges at the end, reconstruction of the Index-Galena road is about to get underway this spring. This road provides the primary access to the North Fork Skykomish, which was one of the most popular class IV runs in the Skykomish River drainage prior to major flooding in 2006.
The floods that year washed out major sections of the road and caused landslides resulting in severe damage at 11 sites along the road. All have since been repaired except for half mile section upstream of Trout Creek where the road was completely washed away between mile 6.4 and 6.9. The river channel is now where the road was in this section.
Construction will get underway this spring and includes rerouting the road away from the river and out of the channel migration zone. As part of this plan, the public access point at MP 6.9, serving as the traditional dividing point between class III and class IV rapids, will be retained and formalized. This access is approximately half a mile upstream of Trout Creek, the privately-owned access and group camp area maintained and managed by Outdoor Adventure Center.
By fall 2023 it will be possible to access the river from Index without having to drive over Jack's Pass that is snowed in through the winter boating season and early spring snowmelt.
Unfortunately the access point at mile 6.9 will be used for staging during construction of the road and the Forest Service will implement a formal closure order for the site in the coming months.
Access design concept developed through input from American Whitewater and the local paddling community: