Sauk River: Darrington to Skagit River

A long, moderate, and beautiful river section with enough water flow to paddle throughout the year. This river section in the North Cascades near the Mountain Loop Highway has options for river runs of 8, 12, 18, and 26 miles.


  • 1,000-4,000 cfs: Below recommended but still a very enjoyable run.
  • 4,000-10,000 cfs: Runnable.
  • 10,000cfs-30,000 cfs: Runnable with caution.

Put-ins & Take-outs

  • Darrington: On the southwest side of the Sauk Prairie Road bridge over the Sauk there is a dirt parking area. The boat launch is under the bridge. The river may also be accessed on the southeast side of the bridge.  There is parking for 10+ cars, but there is no Toilet.
  • Lower Sauk Boat Launch: On the northwest side of the Sauk River Bridge over SR-530. There is ample parking and toilets.
  • Old Concrete Sauk Valley Road. Cross the Sauk River on the Concrete-Sauk Valley Road and turn left onto Old Concrete Sauk Valley Road. In ~1 mile, find a path down to the river and a gravel bar put-in. There is space for 3-4 cars to park along the road (GPS: 48.40297, -121.55733).
  • Sauk Park Campground: Just downstream from the Concrete-Sauk Valley Road bridge.
  • Faber Ferry North Boat Launch: Also known as the John G Young Landing, this is aboat launch on the Skagit river. Drive east from Concrete on SR-20 ~5 miles, turn right at public fishing sign onto Faber Road, and drive the paved road to its end. There is parking for 10+ cars and toilets.

On The River

Darrington to Lower Sauk Boat Launch

8.5 miles

This river section is typical of easy Class II runs in the cascades, long stretches of moderate river punctuated by gravel bar drops with some maneuvering required. There are a few wood piles that must be avoided.  

Lower Sauk Boat Launch to Faber ferry North Boat Launch on the Skagit River

16 miles

Just above the Lower Sauk Boat Launch the Suiattle River flows in to the Sauk River, significantly increasing the flow. From here to the Skagit River, the Sauk River is a larger river, mostly gentle though there are a few active drops. The Sauk River then joins the Skagit River, a it wide and fast flowing (4-5 mph) Class I river. Take out at the Faber Ferry North Boat Launch. Camping is possible on some large gravel bars within the first several miles of the Skagit River.  


  • Difficulty: Class II River
  • Length: 20.0 mi
  • 528 ft
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see "Put-Ins" & "Take-Outs" sections (above)
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Green Trails Mountain Loop Highway No. 111SX
  • Green Trails North Cascades Ross Lake No. 16SX

Upcoming Activities

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Trip Reports

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  • Sauk River: Darrington to Lower Sauk Boat Launch
  • Sauk River: Lower Sauk Boat Launch to Faber Ferry Boat Launch

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