Logistics: The put-in for this section is at the middle bridge on the North Fork Tolt.
Since you can't drive a vehicle up here, you will need to scout out the access on a bike and figure
out some of the details and then you'll need to cart your boat in. There is a paved road along
Seattle's water line that is about five miles and gated on both ends. It starts out in the Lake Joy
area. You are allowed to travel the road on foot/bike/horse. Once you're in the watershed you will
need to find your way to the middle bridge across the North Fork Tolt. As far as the take-out goes,
your best option is to continue past the confluence with the South Fork Tolt and continue on to
Carnation. This makes for a run of about 10 miles.
Treat this run as an exploratory. Although there is some great whitewater there is
no vehicle access, making logistics for this run a challenge. The rugged nature of the gorge and
difficult access make this a run that should be attempted only by those looking for a serious
The first couple miles serve up some great class III/IV boulder gardens (about 100
fpm), and then you came to the first gorge (you'll definitely know...). This is the start of about a
mile and half of walled in class V with some serious commitment. You will want to get out and
scout because although there is about a 1/4-1/2 mile of decent looking rapids, the river then
drops over a waterfall of approximately 40 feet in height. It may be runnable, but since you
cant portage the falls at river level (and scouting from the lip would be challenge) the
conservative option is to portage this canyon section and put in below a sieve drop downstream of
The canyon at river level is very reminiscent of the Carbon and inner gorge of the
Tilton (just below Leap of Faith). Overall the gradient in this canyon section is in the 300 fpm
range. There are more challenging rapids as you continue some of which do not offer portage
routes at river level so you will want to consider portaging along the gorge. Scout carefully and
dont over commit.
Below this section you will find some class III until you reach the second gorge
where the Tolt water supply line crosses the North Fork Tolt (this is also where the paved road
leads back to Lake Joy area). Scout the second gorge carefully before committing. There is a
portage option that bypasses the gorge (about 1/4 mile).
The 2-3 miles between the gorge and the confluence with the South Fork Tolt offer
some great clean drops (class III/IV). Below the confluence you will find class II gravel bar rapids as
you continue out to the main
Tolt and potential vehicle access points.
With contributions from and Nick Newhall, Brian Zederic, and Scott Sills who
made an exploratory run on 17 May 2003.
Check the USGS North Fork Tolt
gauge and look for flows of around 250 cfs
for an exploratory run.
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.
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!