Pratt, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||190 fpm|
|Max Gradient||260 fpm|
|virtual-6402||300 - 500 cfs||IV||00h25m||543.9 cfs (too high)|
SEASON: November rains and spring snowmelt.
FUN FACT: The most convenient overnight exploratory to Seattle
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. The mid-elevation forest here is known for it's high quality bear habitat.
LOGISTICS: To reach the river take exit 33 off I-90 and head north on 468th Ave. past the truck stop. The Middle Fork Road (FR 56) turns off to the right in 0.5 miles. At mile 5 on the Middle Fork road you will cross the river at Concrete Bridge. Continue on to mile 8.7 and park across from the confluence with the Pratt River (if the weather is clear you should be able to see the Pratt River valley off to the south as you're driving). The parking area is marked by some concrete barriers and you have to ford a small stream and hike a couple hundred yards out to the gravel bar. Finding your way to the trail on this run can be a bit tricky (a topo map is helpful). You will need to bush whack from the road to the Middle Fork and ferry across to the other side. Try to ferry over to just below where the east ridge of the Pratt meets the Snoqualmie and the Pratt valley. Here the trail is squeezed between the river and the ridge, so hopefully it will be easier to find. Once on the trail, it veers to the south and begins going up the valley. Staying on the trail will be difficult at first as the unmaintained trail makes it way through a wet land. Good news is this section makes for some really easy boat dragging. Soon the trail consolidates though as the bottom lands are left behind. Then it's just a long slog up an old skid road, with some steep switch packs about half way, to Kulla Kulla creek. This trip is typically done as an overnight where you hike in one day and then paddle out the next.
The Pratt is a little known tributary of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie that drains the other side of the Mountains going up I-90. The nature of the run is probably most comparable to that of the Foss River in the Sky drainage. The river flows through a deep open valley, so the river seems to be ripping through the forest most of the time instead of a canyon. As you can imagine, this makes for constant wood hazards. The only difference with this run, than the Foss, is it requires a six mile hike up river to reach the put-in.
You can camp downriver of Kulla Kulla Creek as it looks like more hiking won't yield that much additional whitewater. If you do this trip as an overnight, don't plan on quality camping. The river valley is covered in devil's club although you can probably find a patch of moss. In addition, be clean with the cooking because you'll likely see bear scat the whole way up the trail.
Once on the river get ready, for about two miles of trashy class III and log jams.& nbsp; Don't despair though, soon the rapids will clean up and get harder. Most of the good whitewater is crammed into the middle two miles on this run. It started with a fun, almost bedrock, easy V rapid. Then came a fair amount of class IV which ended with another easy V. After that the river quickly mellows out for its last two miles to the Middle Fork. Everything is easily scoutable if you don't mind navigating through devils club.
With contributions from Keith Robinson
Fact sheet on the case for Wild and Scenic designation of the Pratt River.
Two Wild and Scenic River Bills Pass the Senate (WA)
June 19, 2013
Congress Passes River Conservation Bills
December 13, 2014