South Fork Nooksack: Saxon Bridge to the North Fork

An intimate and beautiful northwest river.



  • Saxon Bridge:  There is a small dirt parking lot with room for six cars on the south west side of the bridge.  From here, follow a trail to launch underneath the bridge.


  • Potter Road: Take out on the right bank under the Potter Road bridge and walk an easy trail to the road.  At the road, there is limited space for 2-3 cars to pull off on the shoulder. However, cars cannot be left parked here. Instead, leave park cars at the public parking in Van Zandt. Parking here is limited so it is best to plan to have a maximum of three cars in use as this takeout. It's  11 miles from Saxon Bridge.
  • North Fork Confluence: Land on the large gravel bar on river right before entering the North Fork. Cars may be driven to this gravel bar via a short dirt road that parallels SR-9 to the west. There is ample parking here but the road is rutted and requires high clearance vehicles.  It's 13 miles from Saxon Bridge.

On the River

The South Fork on the Nooksack is a smaller river with an intimate feeling.  It wonders through farmland in the valley but often brushes up against the forests on either side.


  • Wood is common so be alert and ready to scout for safe passage.  Though he paddling is generally easy, paddlers should have good boat control.
  • A smaller party size is preferred to accommodate the take-out limitations—limited parking at Potter Road and high clearance at the confluence.
  • Difficulty: Class II River
  • Length: 11.0 mi
  • 367 ft
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 8
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
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  • South Fork Nooksack: Saxon Bridge to Potter Road

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