Pilchuck Creek - 3 - Highway 9 Bridge to I-5 Bridge

Pilchuck Creek, Washington, US


3 - Highway 9 Bridge to I-5 Bridge

Usual Difficulty II+ (for normal flows)
Length 6.1 Miles
Avg. Gradient 14 fpm

Lower Pilchuck

Lower Pilchuck
Photo of David Wilson by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 03/01/13 @ 1600 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Pilchuck Cr. @ Bridge 626
wadoe-05D070 800 - 2000 cfs II+ 04h39m 40 cfs (too low)

River Description

SEASON: Winter rains.

LOGISTICS: The take-out is at Interstate 5 exit 210. From the exit head west on 236th St. NE for 0.5 mile to the bridge across the creek that serves as the take-out (downstream river left). To reach the put-in, head back to Interstate 5 and drive north to exit 212 and head east on Stanwood-Bryant Road for 4.1 miles to Highway 9. Head 2 miles north on Highway 9 (mile 34.9) to the bridge across Pilchuck Creek which is the put-in (downstream river right).


The whitewater on this run does not exceed class II but you may encounter wood hazards that require more advanced skills.

What you see at the put-in characterizes the first but about 5-10 minutes in you will pass under the Centennial Trail Bridge. Downstream of the bridge, the river passes through a scenic forested reach where conifers line the bank and an bedrock wall extends down river left. The section has some fun class II whitewater.

Soon a few homes come into view and then a little over halfway down the run you arrive at the Stanwood-Bryant Road Bridge (alternate access on river left about 1/4 mile upstream of the bridge). Here the channel spreads out a bit and you can expect to encounter wood hazards (it's worth driving this road on the shuttle to take a look). Downstream you will float through mixed rural residential and agricultural lands although the tribe has been working to restore native vegetation along the banks. 

After you pass under I-5 the river bends to the left and soon arrives at the 236th St. NE Bridge just upstream of the river's confluence with the Stillaguamish. The take-out is on the downstream river left side of the bridge. 

This section is not as popular as the Upper and Middle sections but it's still a fun float if you are looking for something easier with relatively simple logistics.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-03-02 05:49:07

Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
March 2 2013 (2027 days ago)
Thomas O'KeefeDetails
Nice class II float at 1600 cfs. Current was swift and some wood was in play. The most significant
hazards were in the vicinity of the Stanwood-Bryant Road Bridge. We found a clear channel through

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