Skykomish, N. Fork, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||125 fpm|
|Max Gradient||450 fpm|
|SKYKOMISH RIVER NEAR GOLD BAR, WA|
|usgs-12134500||4000 - 8000 cfs||II-V||00h43m||550 cfs (too low)|
ACCESS: From Highway 2 mile 35.6 turn north up the North Fork Road (becomes FR 63) at the Mt. Index Cafe. You'll pass a turn-off for Forest Road 6330 at mile 9.1 that crosses the river (staff gauge on river left side of bridge center pillar). Continue on FR 63, 0.5 miles past the Troublesome Creek Bridge to mile 11.7 which marks the access point at Drumbeater where the lower run starts. From this point continue up to mile 12.3 and a pullout with a short trail down to Bear Creek Falls. Here the river carves through an impressive bedrock slot with several ledges over a span of approximately 100 yards. Continue on to mile 14.8 and the junction of FR 63 and 65. To stay along the North Fork turn up the hill to the left to stay on FR 63. At mile 16.8 FR 63 ends and you'll want to follow FR 6300. At mile 18.5 you'll come to a decent overlook that provides you with a view of the river, and at mile 19.2 you will be at the end of the maintained road and several trailheads for the wilderness areas in the basin. Check road conditions with Mt. Baker - Snoqulamie National Forest; follow link to the forest road conditions report under the recreation link.
DESCRIPTION: The Upper North Fork is less frequently boated than the more popular North Fork run downstream. It is characterized by some big drops and imposing boulder gardens interspersed with several class II sections.
The river continues downstream on the more popular North Fork Skykomish run.