Skykomish, N. Fork - 1. Jackson Wilderness to Bear Creek

Skykomish, N. Fork, Washington, US


1. Jackson Wilderness to Bear Creek

Usual Difficulty II-V (for normal flows)
Length 10 Miles
Avg. Gradient 125 fpm
Max Gradient 450 fpm

Upper North Fork Skykomish

Upper North Fork Skykomish
Photo of view from FR 6300 mile 18.5 taken 29SEP01

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-12134500 4000 - 8000 cfs II-V 00h43m 550 cfs (too low)

River Description

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.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2004-07-09 16:36:57

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 22 2010 (2921 days ago)
LightFoot (151420)
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.
July 4 2004 (5192 days ago)
Bryan SwanDetails
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.

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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.