This section is typically not a standard whitewater run but locals do recreate on the flatwater sections and the falls have been run a few times. The run is primarily flatwater with the exception of three major waterfalls: Eagle Falls, Canyon Falls, and Sunset Falls. For many years the falls were considered unrunnable but Eagle Falls and Sunset Falls are occassionally run. There have been several fatalities along this stretch of river particularly during summer with swimmers or tubers who didn't realize the danger of the falls.
Eagle Falls has been the site of an impressive high water run by Tao in Twitch, an occurrence that is becoming more common these days among paddlers with the skills to run this drop. This has also been the site of a kayaker fatality. If you're on the beginner run upstream of this falls be sure you know exactly where the take-out is. This waterfall is located right along Highway 2 near milepost 40 and many travelers stop and take a look at the falls. Check out the Eagle Falls page on Bryan Swan's waterfall site.
Canyon Falls is located along private property making it difficult to access. There have been fatalities here when tubers floated up to the edge of the falls without realizing the hazard. Check out the Canyon Falls page on Bryan Swan's waterfall site.
This section ends at Sunset Falls where the Skykomish drops 104 vertical feet over a 275' granite slide. See Liquid Locomotive for Whit Deschner's story of Al Faussett's ride over Sunset Falls in 1926 in a 34 foot canoe with sheet metal spray deck. Take a look at this thing in low water sometime (around 400 cfs). As SteveB described it, "this Falls must have the highest concentration of unrunnable features: sieves, terminal toilet bowl holes, offseting huge undercuts, bottomless caves, & more pinning spots that a half finished hand-made suit." In recent years, a handful of highly skilled paddlers have been running the falls at higher flows (see Rob McKibbin video) but injuries and broken gear are not uncommon. Check out the Sunset Falls page on Bryan Swan's waterfall site.
Sunset Falls was successfully run by kayaker Rob McKibbin in 2008.
Eagle falls is run somewhat regular by the local big ballers. Sunset Falls has also been run by Sam Grafton. Eagle falls is class 5+ and Sunset is a solid 6.
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Eagle Falls Cleanup
Sunset Falls Dam Site
Sunset Falls dam site
Recent Run on Eagle Falls
V.P. Taylor swimming Eagle Falls
V.P. Taylor preparing to swim Eagle Falls
Al Fausett at Eagle Falls
Al Fausett preparing for Eagle Falls
Al Fausett below Sunset Falls
Al Fausett's run of Sunset Falls
Al Fausett's canoe for Sunset Falls
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.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has initiated a 60 day comment period for the proposed Sunset Falls Hydro Project. This is the first step in the process where Snohomish PUD is seeking a preliminary permit to begin a formal study of the site. American Whitewater has several concerns with this project given the community value of this river and its signature waterfall.
Earlier today American Whitewater was joined by Alpine Lakes Protection Society, American Rivers, North Cascades Conservation Council, Sierra Club – Washington State Chapter, The Mountaineers, and Washington Wild in formally opposing the proposed hydropower project on the South Fork of the Skykomish River at Sunset Falls.
Today, American Rivers released the annual report on America's Most Endangered Rivers. American Whitewater has partnered with American Rivers in past years in identifying threatened rivers, and this year we are working together to highlight threats to the Skykomish River in Washington and the Green River in Utah.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has scheduled a set of public meetings and a site visit on June 12th and 13th that are open to the public for those who wish to comment on the proposed hydropower development at Sunset Falls. Written comments on the proposal are being accepted through July 19th.
A new economic study of the controversial Sunset Falls Dam on Washington’s South Fork of the Skykomish River, reveals the power generated at the proposed site would cost 2.3 times more than the Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD) estimates.
Today, numerous partners joined American Whitewater in filing comments in opposition to Snohomish PUD No. 1's proposed hydroelectric project on the South Fork Skykomish river at Sunset Falls in Washington. Our comments highlight the significant impacts the project would have to fish and wildlife habitat, water quality and quantity, recreation and scenic values, and call out the questionable economics of the project.
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