FUN FACT: Convenient beginner whitewater to Seattle.
SEASON: Fall rains and spring snow melt, but can run into mid-summer.
ACCESS: To get to the put-in for this run, take exit 34 off of I-90. Turn south at the bottom of the exit ramp, head 0.5 mile on 468th Ave. SE., then turn left on SE 159th St. (look for the small sign that points to Twin Falls State Park). This turn, which is easy to miss, is just before the bridge across the river. Follow SE 159th St. 0.6 mile to its end at Twin Falls State Park. The put-in itself is easy and very accessible. It's about thirty feet from the parking lot. The take-out is on exit 32. If you are heading west on 90, from the put in, take a left at the exit and drive until you get to the big bridge crossing the river. Park on the side of the road here.
This is a class II/II+ run depending on levels, but stay alert for wood hazards. Be especially careful in the section below the 468th Ave bridge. Stay left at the first island and look for wood before going into any channels. There is a mile or so of very active riverbed that changes annually.
The highlight of the trip is in Waskowitz Canyon, which can become a single long class II+ boulder slalom at higher flows. You will pass under a footbridge, pass the camp (on river right), and then enter an area with houses on river left. After you go under the next bridge, houses begin to appear on river right, and the canyon will open up. After a small rapid that makes a sharp left turn, there is a long pool and a weir. There are several runnable slots in the weir, mostly left of center. The easiest portage is on the far left (the old portage on the right has become overgrown with trees). The main hazard here is not the rapid, but logs that get caught on the weir during high water events.
If you really want to add spice to this run, instead of putting in at the parking lot hike the trail towards the falls, upstream, about a half mile or so. You will come to an area where the trail starts to ascend uphill. Right before this is a small trail that leads down to the river into Percolater Pool. This pool is at the bottom of the second of two class V drops, and makes a great put-in for the lower run, which is class III boogy water to the parking lot, where it calms down to class II. Upstream of this section the river drops 454' over a series of waterfalls.
It is also possible to extend this run. There are access points at two bridges in North Bend, and it is even possible to continue the run to the confluence with the Middle Fork. As you near the confluence, the gradient slackens significantly. In some years, this results in unpassable logjams, so be careful!
for additional information see
from paddle trails canoe club Trip Report: April 23, 2017 exploratory trip on the SF Snoqualmie to check out the tree blockages.
1) Just below the Camp Waskowitz amphitheater (past the ped overpass) full blockage from river left. Stop at the camp to scout. Go extreme right to a gravel bar to portage back to the river. Once back in the river, go to river left as soon as possible, avoiding the usual rocks.
2) About 200 yards downstream, another tree blocks about 3/4 from river right. Need to be on river left and you can pass beyond it. Not a problem as long as you stay to the left.
Floated down the river this weekend (April 13, 2014) in two Alpaka packrafts with my dad. We are on the lower-intermediate level in terms of packrafting/kayaking experience. Water was at 335 cfs (recommended range, per site, is 300-2500) -- and at 335 it was still good to float, but I wouldn't have wanted it to be any lower. We put in at the parking lot to Twin Falls, and got out at the 436 Bridge, just as the entry here describes. Float time was just under ~1.5 hours, including a couple of quick stops at a few eddies. It felt shorter than the 5 miles described (not sure if it actually is shorter than 5 miles, or was merely our perception because of the many fast-paced sections).
The first ~.5 miles from the parking lot (to first bridge over river) had an intermediate amount of waves and wave trains: enough to keep us ready for whitewater, but not too bad. The next mile or so was quite placid and with beautiful scenery. But then the next few miles compensated handily for the relaxation, with lots of rocks to dodge (at least at this low water level), constant maneuvering, and fast-paced action. The river drops surprisingly a lot in those places: you can really see the gradient. Despite the dodging and a few rocks we each ran into, neither one of us ended up in the water.
There were a couple of fallen trees on the banks and partially on the river, but none that blocked the river fully. All in all, beautiful scenery, and good fast-paced action.
There's really no info in the guidebooks about the South Fork below the class II+ run, but it's worth knowing about.
The SF is runnable down to the confluence with the Middle Fork. There are a few rapids, but they are mostly above the first bridge in North Bend. After that, the gradient begins to slacken.
A couple of miles below the last bridge, the river turns sharply left and you'll probably see some snags, which are dropped by the river when the current slows. From that point until the confluence, there will be several logjams, which may or may not be passable. This stretch changes drastically from year to year, and there's no way to know what it's like.
In this stretch, it's possible to see herons and bald eagles.
Once you reach the confluence with the Middle Fork, the main Snoqualmie continues down into the town of Snoqualmie. You can take out at the confluence, or continue down to another convenient takeout.
This run is best at over 1000 cfs, but it's probably not a good idea to run it over 1500 cfs unless you've already run it once.
2 years ago
by Shane West
4 years ago
by Thomas O'Keefe
by Donald Cheyette
5 years ago
by Matt Muir
by Derek Rippe
USGS gauge South Fork
Snoqualmie nr Garcia
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.
Clay wall rapid
South Bend Island
Approaching the Canyon
Entering the clay wall area
Mt. Si from the river
View of Mt. Si from the river
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