Skykomish, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||II (for normal flows)|
|SKYKOMISH RIVER NEAR GOLD BAR, WA|
|usgs-12134500||1300 - 4000 cfs||II||01h14m||3500 cfs (running)|
LOGISTICS: The put-in for this run at the railroad bridge is also a popular take-out for the main run on the Skykomish. Parking can be found along the tracks just west of the railroad bridge over the Skykomish (Highway 2 mile 32.5). There is a parking area on the north side of Highway 2 with enough space for half dozen cars (a few more if you get creative). There have been occasional problems with break-ins to shuttle vehicles. For those who want to add a couple miles of class III, but don't want to run Boulder Drop, you can put in right below Boulder Drop near Highway 2 mile 34 (parking along the shoulder on the north side of the Highway). The take-out is the public access at Highway 2 mile 30.4, just east of the Highway 2 bridge across the river.
This run can be paddled as a continuation of the main Skykomish run and that option is popular with rafters or those who do not wish to hike up the hill at the railroad bridge. Another popular option for those who want some additional class III is to put in right below Boulder Drop and just do the seond half of the main run--this option is commonly referred to as Boulder Run.
For many, however, the railroad bridge is the start of a good beginner kayak run popular with locals who have done a couple Powerhouse trips on the Snoqualmie or the Yo-Yo section of the Green, or those who simply just want a mellow float down the river with a few nice rapids.
The most challenging part of this run can be working your way down the muddy slope at the railroad bridge. Put in wherever you like along river left taking in as much of Railroad Bridge rapid as you like. Everything you'll encounter downstream will be a bit easier than this rapid.
The next rapid downstream is Fisherman's and depending on levels this will be a bit of a boulder garden or a wave train that pushes class III. You should be able to boat scout your way through although first-time beginners might want to pull out for a look on the left.
The river continues with some more fun class II rapids that are great for practice and instruction, and in about a mile and a half you'll encounter Proctor Creek rapid which is the second rapid on this stretch to push class III. Most should be able to boat scout or follow the lead of a more experienced paddler. The run continues with a few more class II rapids before the last one that ends right at the Highway 2 bridge (you'll be able to see this rapid on your drive to the river if you look towards the north when you cross the bridge). The take-out is in the eddy on river left at a nice convenient beach.