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
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
The river continues downstream on the more popular North Fork
The road from Index up the N Fork mentioned in this description was destroyed by storms and flooding two years ago. No signs or reports of it being rebuilt.
Bear Creek Falls gets pretty rough at high flows, and becomes completely unrunable when the river at Index falls below ~700 cfs, due to piton rocks and potholes. Between Goblin Creek and Bear Creek Falls, the river is mostly Class II - III. Between Quartz Creek and Goblin Creek, the river drops down a spectacular gorge in almost constant Class V-VI whitewater, culminating in 90 foot Deer Falls (which can be seen by bushwhacking to the gorge rim at mile marker 18 on FR 63). Below the falls, the gorge extends for another 500 feet, with a few smaller ledges throughout, then ends just upstream from the mouth of Goblin Creek, where the river flows into the wider valley below.
Comments on the Environmental Assessment for the proposed Skykomish Geothermal Consent to Lease project
Scoping Comments on the proposed Skykomish Geothermal Consent to Lease project
Scoping comments of American Whitewater on repair the North Fork road from mile 6.4 to 6.9.
Historically there was a USGS
gauge at Index (stn.
12134000, 1910-1948, 146 sq.
mi.). The virtual gauge for this run
provides approximate flow based on
the relative area of the basin and the
Goldbar gauge downstream. Keep
in mind that several tributaries come in
between this section and Index so
actual flows will be even less than that
indicated by this gauge. The
relationship used for the virtual gauge
is of course dependent on snow level.
When the freezing level is low the river
will be flowing a bit lower than the
value given and during peak snowmelt
the river may be flowing higher. The
Goldbar gauge is also available
through the NOAA hotline
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Upper North Fork Sky
Bear Creek Falls
Upper North Fork Skykomish
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Snohomish County Public Works has published the long-awaited Environmental Assessment for repairs on the Index-Galena Road that historically provided access to the North Fork Skykomish River for whitewater boaters. Public input will be considered in agency decision making on whether repair of this important access road will move forward. The deadline for comments is October 31, 2016.
As another spring boating season approaches many of our members have inquired about the current status of the Index-Galena road that provides access to the North Fork Skykomish River. We need paddlers to weigh in with the Federal Highway Administration and Washington State Department of Transportation to get this project back on track.
Last week President Bush signed a bill making Wild Sky the first new wilderness area in Washington State in more than a quarter century. The new wilderness includes the headwaters of several whitewater runs including the North Fork Skykomish, Silver Creek, Rapid, and Beckler.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!