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Difficulty II+
Length 6.1 Miles
Gauge Pilchuck Cr. @ Bridge 626
Flow Range 800 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 9 hours ago 198 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 03/02/2013 5:49 am

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.


Rapid Descriptions


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Thomas O'Keefe
7 years ago

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 everything.

Gage Descriptions

Department of Ecology recently established a realtime gauge for this creek. The USGS Pilchuck nr Bryant gauge is just upstream from the Highway 9 bridge. It's no longer an active gauge and getting to a spot where you can actually read the numbers would require you to go across private property. You can see this staff gauge from the river left side of the bridge. Although you won't be able to read the numbers, the top of the board is at 5.7'(approx 2800 cfs) so from that you can estimate what the level is. Most paddlers use the large rock in the middle of the river on the upstream side of the bridge to estimate relative flow. Look for water coming up on the rock but not completely covering it for ideal flows (see gauge photo). This is a rain-fed run and it generally takes at least a day of good hard winter rain to bring the water up. Check the rainfall at the Arlington NWS station. The river rises and drops very quickly. The staff gauge roughly corresponds (channel has likely changed since the last set of measurements) to cfs as follows:

3.5' - 560 cfs
4.0' - 930 cfs
4.5' - 1390 cfs
5.0' - 1950 cfs
5.5' - 2600 cfs
6.0' - 3300 cfs

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




Matt Muir


Thomas O'Keefe


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191973 09/07/04 n/a n/a
1201877 03/02/13 Thomas O'Keefe gage added