ACCESS: Because there is no road running along the length of the river this is a long shuttle. From the junction of Highway 20 and 9 in Sedro Woolley, head 12.1 miles north on Highway 9 to the town of Saxon. Turn east on Saxon Road and in about 1.5 miles you'll cross the SF of the Nooksack. Continue another mile or so to convenient river access at a beach. To reach the put-in from Sedro Woolley, take Highway 20 east for 10.7 miles to the town of Hamilton, and the junction of a logging bridge over Highway. 20. Just west of the bridge turn left and head north. At 0.3 miles turn right at a stop sign. At 0.05 miles farther turn left. Then at the "Y" stay on the pavement. At 2.35 miles after the left turn, you will leave the pavement. (Shortly after pavement end there is a junction road on the right to the top of Mt. Josephine). At 4.9 miles after pavement ends you have a choice at Lyman Pass which is the divide between the Skagit and Nooksack watersheds. You can take the left fork which descends 2.3 miles down to Larson Bridge, or continue upstream to the right 3.1 miles to another bridge that serves as an alternate put-in. There are reports of a 15-20 foot waterfall that has been run upstream of this bridge.
This run is Class 2+. Most of it is a gravel bar river, but there are two short gorges in black rock. The longest of these has several boulders about 6 feet in diameter, and a couple of small holes. This is a scenic run through a forest valley with no development.
Apparently access to this run is now closed due to the fact that it runs through private timber land which has been gated to prevent vandalism. Also use caution if you do hike in as engineered log jams have been reportedly placed in the river near mile 20 (in the vicinity of the Larson Bridge).
There is a fun little play hole at the take-out.
with contributions from Martha Parker
1 week ago
by Lummi Restoration
1 year ago
5 years ago
by Eric Stover
8 years ago
by Thomas O'Keefe
Complete Recreation Plan Document with Appendices.
Summary of Recreation Plan.
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Engineered log jams map 2
Engineered log jams map 1
Play hole at take-out
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources is embarking on a new planning project that will guide recreation on DNR-managed lands in the Nooksack River and Whatcom Lake watersheds for the next 10-15 years. The effort will kick off with two public open houses that will be scheduled for January.
Following a two and a half year process, the Upper Nooksack River Recreation Plan, has been finalized. This new, comprehensive plan will help guide the management of recreation and natural resources along the upper Nooksack River system in Washington state. The plan recognizes and supports the economic and health benefits of recreation, along with protection and restoration of the natural and cultural values of the upper river basin.
Do you enjoy boating on the Nooksack River? If you do, please tell us about your experience. American Whitewater is working with several partners through the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program to develop an updated recreation plan for the upper Nooksack River basin. Your input will help us guide development of this plan.
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