Nooksack, S. Fork - River Mile 25 to Saxon Road

Nooksack, S. Fork, Washington, US


River Mile 25 to Saxon Road

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 12 Miles
Avg. Gradient 37 fpm

Play hole at take-out

Play hole at take-out
Photo of Tim Blecha by Keith Robinson taken 02/03/03 @ 1,000 CFS

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-12209000 700 - 2500 cfs II-III 9y284d05h48m 317 cfs (too low)

River Description

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

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2003-08-09 22:12:28


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 2 2014 (1321 days ago)
LogJam (157032)
Additional Engineered Logjams have been installed by both Lummi and Nooksack Tribes at several
sites from the Saxon Road Bridge downstream to the confluence with the North Fork. While this
section of the website is specific to RM 25 downstream to Saxon Road Bridge, there is no section on
the website for the reach below the bridge. This is to inform the whitewater community that these
structures are in the South Fork Nooksack. Most structures are marked with 18"X18" warning signs to
alert recreational users.
July 27 2011 (2545 days ago)
Thomas O'KeefeDetails
As a courtesy to the paddling community, the Lummi Nation has provided the following information on
the installation of engineered log jams on the South Fork Nooksack River. SITE 1) South Fork
Nooksack, near the Fobes Creek tributary: We have recently installed 14 engineered logjams on the
South Fork Nooksack River between river miles 18.2 and 18.5. This is in a section that is not
easily accessible, but we have several plain yellow warning signs on the logjams in areas where it
might be difficult to see the logjams. Here are the lat/long for the furthest upstream and
downstream logjams: Furthest downstream extent: 48 37' 29.698"N 122 6'38.117"W Furthest upstream:
48 36'48.09"N 122 6' 3.18"W. SITE 2) South Fork Nooksack, near Skookum Creek tributary: We have
recently installed 3 engineered logjams on the South Fork Nooksack River between river miles 13.6
and 14.2. Information we have obtained is that this is where a take-out point is. We have installed
yellow warning signs on these logjams. These logjams have been placed into the left bank.
Locations: 48 40' 10.716"N, 122 8' 53.195"W; 48 40' 12.585"N, 122 8' 30.819"W?

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Associated Projects

  • Nooksack Stewardship (WA)
    Public access, hydropower development, and resource stewardship are all ongoing issues on this river system.