SEASON: Throughout the year. Can get too low in late summer or mid
FUN FACT: Mellow river float with a few rapids.
PUTIN: Highway 2 bridge east of the town of Skykomish where the
Beckler and Tye come together to form the South Fork Skykomish
(Highway 2 mile 49.8). You can find parking on the upstream river left side
of the bridge.
TAKEOUT: Barclay Creek at mile 40 on Highway 2. Stear clear of
private property. An alternative takeout is available at the bridge to Money
Creek campground bridge at mile 46 on Highway 2.
SHUTTLE: Highway 2 parellels the run.
The South Fork of the Skykomish is a mellow float trip suitable for
beginners with support from experienced paddlers.
The most significant set of rapids is a wave train that can be seen
where Hwy 2 passes through a short tunnel. If you can handle this set of
rapids you should have no problem with the run. If you look at this set of
rapids and think it looks incredibly boring then go somewhere else or
you'll be in for a long day. The emphasis here is not on action, but having
a fun day on the river with some fun splashy waves. There are several
places along the river suitable for beginners to practice boat handling
The most important part of this run is to be sure you recognize the
takeout. It's not difficult to find where Barclay Creek joins the Skykomish,
but unrunnable drops are only half a mile downstream.
lat/long confirmed with GPS
for additional information see, Bennett, J. and T.
Bennett. 1997. A guide to the whitewater rivers of Washington, second
edition. Swiftwater Publishing. Portland, OR.
This river can be very fun at flows above 4000, but be aware that it is no longer a mellow float when the level gets high.
There is a rapid about 2 miles below the class III rapid that is important to know about. The river gradually sweeps left and gets steeper, and then makes a sharp right turn. As you make this turn, you will see a giant hole that covers half of the river, and guess what - all of the current is heading right into it.
If you aren't to the right of it with 20 yards to go, start paddling hard. The hole can be punched with some effort.
Historically there was a gauge on
the SF Skykomish (stn.
12130500, 1930-1970). The virtual
gauge for this run provides
approximate flow based on the relative
area of the basin and the Skykomish at
Goldbar gauge downstream (the
river is good between 2,500 and 8,000
on this gauge). The Goldbar gauge is
also available through the NOAA
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.
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.
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