Sauk River: White Chuck River to Darrington

A classic Class III+ river section in the North Cascades near Glacier Peak and the Mountain Loop Highway. It can be run most of the year.


  • 1,500 - 2,000 cfs: Low but still very fun.
  • 2,000 - 6,000 cfs: Runnable.
  • 6,000 - 15,000 cfs: Runnable with caution.
  • The SAUK--ABOVE WHITE CHUCK (WCHW1) NOAA gauge is directly above the put-in. It may give additional information on the river's state, but there are no recommend flow ranges based on this gauge.


  • White Chuck Boat Launch:  Turn onto Forest Road 22, cross the White Chuck River bridge, and find parking for about 12 cars and bathrooms.
  • Rocky Road:  Park at the Beaver Lake Trailhead and carry boats along the trail until it is easy to access the river.  This launch point is above the Rock Road rapid.


  • Backman County Park:  Take the Clear Creek Road to this boat launch and parking area. There is space for about 8 cars. There are no Toilets.  
  • Darrington:  On the southwest side of the Sauk Prairie Road bridge over the Sauk River 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.


This is a great Class III run with continuous rapids from Class II to Class III+. This section can be run at a wide range of river flows. The minimun recommend flow is 2,000 cfs, but it can be run at lower flows bumping over rocks.  This makes it a run that can be done through the summer and fall.


  • When this run is too high for your comfort, the Silly Stilly may be in good flow and is of very similar character.
  • The Whirlpool rapid may be scouted from the road at a small pullout.  
  • Learn more on American Whitewater's Sauk: 2 - Whitechuck River to Darrington web page
  • Difficulty: Class III+ River
  • Length: 10.5 mi
  • 1,025 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
    Darrington Ranger District (MBSNF)
  • 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

Upcoming Activities

Whitewater Packraft - Sauk River: White Chuck River to Darrington

Packrafting Trip
Join me for a Class III river. Sauk from Whitechuck is one of my favorite
Difficulty: Class III River
Sat, Jun 10, 2023
0 participants 0 leaders
Registration closes Jun 8
Seattle Branch
Tom Unger
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