Rapid - Road end to Beckler River


Rapid, Washington, US

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Road end to Beckler River

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 3.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 111 fpm
Max Gradient 129 fpm

Rapid River


Rapid River
Photo of Claudio Piani by Thomas O'Keefe В©

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Rapid
virtual-6270 550 - 900 cfs IV 00h40m 552.8 cfs (running)


River Description

SEASON: Spring snowmelt. Snow may limit access until late spring (check road report).

FUN FACT: Continuous rapids--short but sweet.

SHUTTLE: Follow Highway 2 east to FR 65, the Beckler River Road (turnoff at mile 49.6 on Highway 2 just west of the bridge across the South Fork Skykomish). Take the Beckler River Road 6.9 miles to a bridge across the Rapid River where the pavement ends (elevation 1340'). Parking for the takeout is available on river left on the upstream side of the bridge. From the takeout follow Forest Road 6530 as it parrelels the Rapid River. It's easy to scout the run from the road and check for log hazards on your way to the put-in. You will reach the third FR 6530 bridge at mile 1.2. This serves an alternative put-in for those looking for a quick 15-20 minute run that takes in the most continuous section of whitewater. The river disappears from view (there is not much action in this section away from the road), until you get to mile 2.9 where the river comes back into view again (the big drops are just around the corner upstream). You can put in here or continue up to mile 3.0 and an undeveloped camping area (elevation 1740'). Check road conditions with Mt. Baker - Snoqulamie National Forest; follow link to the forest road conditions report under the recreation link.

DESCRIPTION:

Within 100 yards of the put-in the river screams to life with a stairstep sequence of waterfalls that together rates V-. Individually the drops look fairly straightforward, but packed together in a small and tight canyon they become a bit more intimidating or exciting depending on you perspective. If these drops only wet your appetite you can continue upstream to more challenging whitewater as seen in the Twitch 2000 video. Most mortal creek boaters put in below the falls and run a challenging class IV+ rapid that tapers out to class III over a distance of a couple hundred yards. If you don't like the looks of any of the put-in rapids you might want to back track downstream to the alternative put-in.

Below the entrance rapids the river calms to class II with some class III for nearly a mile. Occasional log hazards demand your attention, but this section is otherwise straightforward.

Just about the time you're beginning to wonder how long the calmer stretch will last the river kicks to life with a sharp bend to the right as the third FR 6530 bridge comes into view (the alternative put-in). At higher water the rapid just past the bridge packs a pretty good punch.

The run is all too short from this point down, but it's continuous to the takeout with a lot of different routes to choose from (video of a typical section, 1.3 MB). Log hazards are the main danger, but this run is otherwise a very user friendly class IV. There are no big huge drops or must-make slots, and only a couple boat munching holes. Individually the rapids might be class III+, but the continuous nature makes it solid class IV.

The best takeout is to continue under the Beckler Road bridge and onto the Beckler River where you can takeout on river left.

for additional information see:

  • Bennett, J. and T. Bennett. 1997. A guide to the whitewater rivers of Washington, second edition. Swiftwater Publishing. Portland, OR.
  • Video footage in :Twitch 2000, Videolink, P.O. Box 122, Leavenworth, WA 98826.
  • Skykomish Ranger District - USFS Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest website

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-08-05 21:15:35

Editors


Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 4 2007 (3792 days ago)
Chris TretwoldDetails
I paddled the Rapid around 14,000 skykomish guage on June 3rd, the river was "bankfull". We heard
it was clean of wood, however, we found we had to portage a riverwide log near the bottom of the
1st (biggest) rapid below the campground, the wood was not visible from the road and could pose a
threat if someone didnt see it. We also found there to be a number of riverwide logs from after the
1st rapid to the 1st bridge you come to, most we could get over, barely, I suspect at lower flows
you would be portaging. Scout your put-in carefully!
November 13 2006 (3995 days ago)
Joe SauveDetails
Post Flood Update: I got in a quick run on the lower section from the 3rd bridge down on 11/9. I
didn't go past the 3rd bridge to check out the upper part of the run, but the lower, continuous
section was good to go. There is some wood, but nothing that had to be portaged and you can see the
wood from the road. Most of it is the same old wood from before with one exception. There is a big
ol' log in the ledge on river right a few hundred yards upstream from the takeout. Easy to get
around on the left. It's just a bummer because that slot is the most "ledgy" spot in the lower part
of the run and you need to miss it now.
June 3 2006 (4157 days ago)
bcunitzDetails
Ran the rapid 6/3/06, the road is completely repaired and you can drive all the way to the put-in.
There are two log portages, one near the beginning and the other about halfway through.
January 31 2006 (4281 days ago)
Joe SauveDetails
I made several runs this year on the Rapid both during winter rain and spring snowmelt. It seems
that it takes a higher level on the Goldbar gage for rain than for snowmelt. During winter rain
runs, we had medium water level at 12,000 and low water (but runnable) at 9,000. However, during
snowmelt in June we had a medium level with 7,000 cfs at Goldbar. In fact, 7,000 snowmelt was about
the same as 12,000 rain. You can get a good look at the level at the bridge over the Rapid at the
mouth. If you don't like what you see, big deal... it's a short drive to the Foss, Miller, Tye and
Money Crk.
April 29 2004 (4923 days ago)
Thomas O'KeefeDetails
As of spring 2004, there is a massive landslide/washout across the road about 2 miles up from the
Beckler confluence. Looks like it has been there all winter and will be quite a project to repair.
You can still put in just above the third bridge and run laps on that last mile+ section which is
where most of the good stuff.


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Associated Projects

  • Skykomish Stewardship (WA)
    AW is actively engaged in the conservation of the Skykomish River and its tributaries and advocacy for public access.

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