Skykomish, S. Fork, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||II(V+) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||47 fpm|
|SF Skykomish nr Skykomish|
|virtual-6271||1000 - 2000 cfs||II(V+)||00h46m||1668.4 cfs (running)|
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.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|