SEASON: November rains and spring snowmelt.
FUN FACT: A short hike-in adventure
CURRENT ISSUES: Future management of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie is currently
being discussed by several regional user groups and agencies. Check MidFORC's web page for the latest news.
LOGISTICS: To check out this river take exit 33 off I-90 and head north towards the
truck stop. The Middle Fork Road (FR 56) turns off to the right within a half mile or so. Follow this
road 12 miles and cross the Taylor River bridge. One potential take-out is here at the bridge or at
the nearby Middle Fork trailhead. This site is also used as an alternate put-in for those running the
Upper Middle who want a
more challenging start to their trip. To reach the Taylor put-in, continue past the bridge and on up
the road to the left. You will soon come to a dead end. From the parking area, cross the river and
hike up along river right. Hike a couple miles and bushwack down to the river.
If there ever was a guide book description that was off, it's the Taylor river in the
Bennett Book. John Schaefer and I, looking for something new to paddle set our sights on the
Taylor. Some time in June we convened at the take out with our playboats and began hiking. The
book said the run was three miles, so we figured we'd just hike till it felt like we had gone that far.
The trail starts upriver of Quartz creek at a bridge that takes you to river right where we hiked the
rest of the way up. If you put in at this bridge, the guide book description would hold true for the
class rating, but the run would be well over two miles short of being a three mile run.
Unfortunately the trail only afforded a few small glimpses of the river on our hike
up. Not knowing exactly where to put in, we just hiked till we were sure that we'd be above all the
rapids. I think we were about a half mile short of otter falls when we decided to make a short but
grueling bushwhack down. The river looked more like a class two brook than a class III river where
we put in. After about a mile of easy paddling and a log portage or two, we arrived at rather big
horizon line for a "class III" run. A scout revealed a solid Class IV rapid. The shear
length of the rapid could have earned it IV+ rating. After the first rapid there were about two more
rapids that were definitely class IV or harder. One had a nasty little sieve that you'd never notice
without scouting. It had a lot of water going towards it, and if you didn't know it was there, that
may be the line you'd choose from up stream. On the other big drop, we portaged the first part
because of wood. It too was a long rapid. Then, towards the end of the run, came the biggest
surprise of all. A twelve foot ledge that is actually on the Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest
website and listed as Lower Taylor Falls. The ledge had a nice line in the middle, but
we both walked it. I'd like to have the volume of a creek boat to stay on top of the hole at the
bottom. This ledge is just out of sight, up river, when you're crossing the bridge at the beginning
of the trail. I could see the other drops getting looked over in the Guide Book, but to not mention
this or call it class III is ludicrous. All in all the run was pretty fun. There was fun busy III, good
class IV, but just about zero play. It'd be better to just bring your creek boat and feel confident
running everything. The Guide book description for this run is the reason they put disclaimers in
those books, So take it all with a grain of salt and rely on your judgment and skills when taking on
new runs. Class III may not always be Class III. Be cautious no matter what the rating!
for additional information see:
Look for flows of about 3000 cfs on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie gauge. This virtual gauge is based on the relative area of the basin referenced to the MF Snoqualmie gauge. It represents an approximation of the flow. Any decision to paddle must be based on personal inspection of the flows at the river (read the disclaimer on the page for this gauge).
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.
Final IV - From Above
Third IV - Final Third
Third IV - Middle
Third IV - Upper Third
Second IV - Base
Second IV - Middle
Second IV - Potential Sieve
Second IV - Top
Spur Trail to Put-In
First IV-IV+ Lower Third
Upper third of first IV-IV+
View upstream from the put-in, just before the first IV-IV+
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.
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!