Snoqualmie, Middle Fork - 2 - Burnboot Creek to Taylor River

Snoqualmie, Middle Fork, Washington, US


2 - Burnboot Creek to Taylor River

Usual Difficulty II-III(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 10.3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 60 fpm
Max Gradient 120 fpm

Rapids below Wildcat Creek

Rapids below Wildcat Creek
Photo of Dave "Willie" Wilson by Tom O'Keefe taken 07/04/01 @ 800 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-12141300 800 - 1800 cfs II-III(IV) 00h45m 979 cfs (running)

River Description

LOGISTICS: To get to the river take exit 33 off I-90 and head north towards the truck stop. The Middle Fork Road (FR 56) turns off the right within a half mile or so. Start your trip odometer and watch for milepost signs. At mile 11.5 you will reach a large parking area just downstream from the confluence with the Taylor River. This is the main trailhead for the trail that runs along river left and there is a foot bridge across the river and a good access. Continuing on to mile 12, you will cross the Taylor River and within 100 yards the Middle Fork Road turns off to the right and heads up a short hill (it's easy to miss this turnoff as the spur road, which looks like the main road and continues straight, comes to a gated dead end). From this point on the road is in very poor condition. You could conceivably make it in a car, but a high clearance vehicle is strongly recommended. At road mile 14.8 you will see a small pull-out marked by large rocks and a trail that leads about 100 yards into the river. This is a short scenic class II run or an alternate put-in for the Upper Middle. To reach the Dingford Creek trailhead, continue on to the pull- out at road mile 18.6 (just before the road bridge across Dingford Creek). From this pull-out there is a short trail down to a footbridge across the Middle Fork which provides one potential access point. Continue up to Middle Fork Road mile 19.6. Here you'll find a small campsite on the left side of the road and a short drive down to the river on your right. This makes a good access point near the mouth of Wildcat Creek which enters on river left. It takes over an hour to drive to this point from the start of the Middle Fork Road.


This section of the Middle Fork does not appear in any of the guidebooks and it's a bit of a mixed bag with long braided sections but there are some fun class IV rapids if you're willing to make the effort to check them out. This section can be divided into 3 smaller section and starts downstream of the Upper Upper Middle.

Goldmyer to Wildcat Creek, 3.5 miles, 70 feet/mile
After leaving the steep drops of the Upper Upper behind, the river settles down onto the valley floor. This section does not contain any legitimate whitewater; it starts with a short class III section and turns into flat portage hell. The river consists of flat braided sections with difficult portages and you will spend more time walking than boating. The longest distance between must portages is 100 yards, and you'll find it easier to just hike to the road and walk.

Wildcat Creek to Dingford Creek, 1.1 miles, 120 feet/mile
This is a short section of only about a mile in length, but there is some great continuous class IV+ whitewater. Most of the action consists of tight technical boulder gardens with short class III recovery stretches in between. Much of the river is read and run although there are a few spots that require you to get out and make a log check and at least one ledge early on that looks like a little nasty (especially at lower flow) and is a potential portage. To get an idea of what to expect on this section walk down to the river from the Dingford Creek trailhead (about 5 minutes) and take a look at the rapid upstream of the bridge. This rapid is characteristic of the drops in this section. If it looks fun and at a good level then the rest of the run will provide more of the same. You can get down this section and have a good time at flows as low as 800 cfs on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie gauge.

Right after the put in you will come up on the Wildcat confluence (photo) and Wildcat Rapids (photo). This section presents a few short drops and a large boulder garden followed up with some class III recovery areas (photo, video). The next rapid, Lost Key, comes up quick. It starts as you descend into the canyon and should be scouted. Although there may be a sneak at higher levels, the main route through Lost Key has a nasty pin slot that you will want to portage. As you enter the rapid, and work through the first moves you’ll see two drops ahead, the first can be run center right (photo 1, photo 2). The second, although it looks inviting should not be run due to the large undercut just below the sight line (view from above, view from below).

After Lost Key rapids, things turn into a great read and run III/IV boulder gardens (photo). Keep a keen eye out for sieves and wood. The end of this section is the Dingford creek confluence with a long slow drop (photo ), and the section ends just around the bend at the final rapid; Dingford Creek bridge drop (photo, video).

Dingford Creek to Taylor River, 5.7 miles, 40 feet/mile
This section starts with great read and run class III with recovery sections for about two miles. After these sections, it gets much calmer and becomes class II+ water with a section that includes numerous portages. The river becomes enjoyable again for the last couple miles above the Taylor River confluence and this section is definitely worth checking out on sunny days in spring as you will be treated to stunning views of Mt. Garfield (photo). The best way to enjoy this section is probably by taking in these last two miles as a start for the Upper Middle run which adds another fun rapid to this run with the rapid located at the Taylor River confluence.

From the Taylor confluence, the river continues as the Upper Middle run.

with contributions from Paul Harris and Tom O'Keefe

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2006-06-25 03:17:11

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 13 2009 (3376 days ago)
x (1)
The Middle Fork road is closed at the gate two miles or so above the concrete bridge/Granite Creek
access. There were apparently big washouts that occured on the road as well as the Taylor river
bridge being knocked out. The road crew said that the road could be closed as late as December
while repairs are done, making the bridge about the highest put-in possible on the MF.
January 27 2009 (3605 days ago)
Thomas O'KeefeDetails
The Middle Fork Road experienced a major washout at the Taylor River Bridge (just past the
campground and trailhead) during recent floods in January 2009 so you can no longer drive to this
section of river.

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  • AW Testimony on S. 721

    Testimony in support of Alpine Lakes Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act S. 721.

  • AW Testimony on H.R. 1769

    Testimony in support of Alpine Lakes Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act H.R. 1769.

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    The Mountains to Sound Greenway stretches over 100 miles along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Central Washington. AW is engaged in promoting stewardship and protection of the rivers in this corridor.
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    AW has been working on resource stewardship along the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie in Washington and protecting this drainage for the incredible recreational opportunities it provides.