American, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||82 fpm|
|AMERICAN RIVER NEAR NILE, WA|
|usgs-12488500||500 - 900 cfs||III-IV||00h20m||47.9 cfs (too low)|
This is a great run that features nearly continuous class III/IV whitewater from start to finish. The river originates from the headwaters in Mt. Rainier National Park and is one of the few rivers in the Yakima drainage without a dam. While Highway 410 runs along the entire length of the run, the river holds your attention making the road only a minor distraction. Dispersed campsites are located along the run and towards the end you will pass a few cabins. The most distinct drop on the run is the big headwall rapid but there is plenty to keep you busy the whole way. The main hazard is wood and you can expect to come up to a few logs that can span the channel. Eddies are few and far between so be prepared and it's a good run to have a skilled probe who can sniff out the wood hazards before you're on top of them.
While this run ends at the confluence with the Bumping River you can continue on downstream to enjoy the Bumping from American Forks down to Sawmill Flat or beyond on the Naches.
Access: The put-in for this section is at the Forest Service Hell's Crossing Campground at Highway 410 mile 83.5. To reach the take-out, drive along the river to Highway 410 mile 88.4 and turn south onto Bumping River Road. You will immediately come to a bridge across the American. This is a potential access or you can continue on in to American Forks Campground and take out at the confluence with the Bumping River which is just downstream of the bridge on river right.