Lightning Creek, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV(V) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||80 fpm|
|Max Gradient||106 fpm|
The North Cascades hold opportunities for paddling adventures for those willing to seek them out. Chris Tretwold and Hale Hanaway explored this creek and brought back tales of good whitewater. Accessing the creek requires a 10+ mile paddle (or motorboat shuttle) up Ross Reservoir to Lightning Campground that serves as a base of operations for explorations in the area. From there you have to hike your boat up the trail to your desired put-in.
The creek starts small with class 3 rapids and some wood to avoid. Three Fools Creek then enters and doubles the flow to form a river. The next 1.5 miles serve up some great class 3. The action picks up for the final 1.5 miles with 8 class 4 drops, one of which pushes class 5 known as "2 Fools Falls", and a 35' cascading falls that is probably runnable. The drops on this run are easy to scout or portage.