Pilchuck Creek, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||II+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||14 fpm|
|Pilchuck Cr. @ Bridge 626|
|wadoe-05D070||800 - 2000 cfs||II+||02h44m||190 cfs (too low)|
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.