Canyon Creek (S.F. Still. trib), Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||111 fpm|
|SF STILLAGUAMISH RIVER NEAR GRANITE FALLS, WA|
|usgs-12161000||5.00 - 7.00 ft||IV-V||00h43m||5.09 ft (running)|
FUN FACT: Fun alternative when Robe Canyon is a little high or a fun class 4 run at lower levels. Excellent option for a quick run in the area.
SEASON: Winter rains and snowmelt--November through May.
LOGISTICS: Take Highway 92 east to the town of Granite Falls. Once in town this road becomes Stanley Street. Follow this east to the other side of town and turn north on Mountain Loop Highway. From here it's 2.1 miles to the turnoff for Canyon Drive which is labeled as 124th St NE on some maps (this turnoff is at highway mile 2.3 and is 0.5 miles after you cross the South Fork Stillaguamish at Granite Falls). Follow Canyon Drive 0.7 miles to a fishing access point with parking for the put-in (if you're looking for more adventure, others have explored upstream). Continuing on the road another 0.2 miles downstream of the put-in takes you to the end of the road and a private community. You can check out the first rapid from the park upstream of the bridge. 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.
This is great little creek run with plenty of action packed into it's short length. There are approximately half a dozen great sequences of rapids consisting of ledges and tight boulder gardens with continuous whitewater all the way to the confluence with the South Fork Stillagaumish.
The first ledge comes within a short distance of the put-in. You can check it out before committing to the run by driving to the park at the end of Canyon Drive (0.2 miles downstream from the put-in). If you like what you see be prepared for more rapids similar to this one and a couple that are a bit more challenging. Most of the rapids on this run can be scouted fairly easily as long as you're confident in your ability to catch small eddies. Once you navigate this first rapid and pass under the bridge you enter the canyon and leave the houses behind.
You should be able to boat scout the next two rapids which can be run on the left (video of second ledge, video of third ledge). You'll soon be to one of the more challenging drops which consists of a long lead-in to a large mid-stream boulder with horizon lines to either side. You'll have to commit to the first part of the rapid and then a micro eddy on river left gives you a spot to scout just before the final horizon line, but it's easy to blow the eddy especially at higher flows so use caution. The far right side is generally the preferred line (video), but the left is possible too.
You've got a short pool before the next challenging rapid on the run. Grab an eddy on the right and scramble out to scout. Wood sometimes limits your options so make sure to check before committing. The best route is along the right through the first two pitches but there is also a potential route down the center that weaves through the boulders. Continuous action keeps you busy in the run out which lasts another 100 yards (video).
The next significant rapid is a ledge drop with a hole on the left that backs up against a bedrock wall (video). You can run the hole or sneak it on the right. After passing through the last dramatic stretch of the canyon you'll be on the South Fork Stillaguamish. It's a short paddle to the take-out on the right upstream of the bridge.
Although first-timers will take their time scouting, making the run seem much longer than the distance would suggest, you can run laps on this one if you don't mind the hassle of dealing with multiple shuttle trips.
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