North Cascades River Expeditions

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Sauk River

The best kept secret in Washington whitewater rafting starts with a serious drop through an old-growth forest. From there, the Sauk tumbles and churns through eight miles of exhilirating rapids, eye-catching mountain scenery, and abundant wildlife, including the rare harlequin duck. When you arrive at the take-out, you will see that the Sauk richly deserves its privileged status as a US Wild and Scenic river.

Meeting Place: We meet at Backman County Park, 2 miles south of Darrington. From Seattle take I-5 north to exit 208, Highway 530. Go east on 530, 32 miles to Darrington. Arrive at the four-way stop in the center of Darrington. Turn right (south) onto the Mountain Loop Highway. Check your odometer. Continue exactly 1.9 (1 and 9-tenths) miles and turn left onto Clear Creek Rd. Go .6 (6-tenths) of a mile and turn left into Backman County Park.

Please note: Clear Creek Rd is a frontage road that parallels the Mountain Loop Highway. Avoid taking the first section of Clear Creek Rd, about 1 mile from the four-way stop. This road leads back toward Darrington. Take the section of Clear Creek Rd that follows south along the Sauk River. If you pass Backman County Park on Clear Creek Rd, you will return to the Mountain Loop Highway. Retrace your route and look carefully for Backman County Park. If you get lost, ask for directions in Darrington at the Darrington IGA (436-0141) or the Darrington Motor Inn (436-1776).

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Meeting Time: Our usual meeting time is 9 a.m. Please confirm this time when you make reservations.

Camping: USDA Forest Service Campgrounds, 360-436-1155:

Snohomish County Campgrounds, 360-436-1283:

Lodging in Darrington:

Season and Water Source: The Sauk can be paddled any time of the year, water permitting. Rain swells the river in early spring. Later, melting snow fills the river with spectacular volumes. In summer, dwindling snowmelt is augmented by glacial runoff from the northwest slopes of Glacier Peak. Laden with glacial flour, the White Chuck River merges with the clear water of the Upper Sauk to produce a remarkable turquoise color. Sunny weather from June 15 to August 1 makes this the ideal season to paddle the Sauk.

Minimum Age of Participants: 10

"It was the perfect start for one of our greatest vacations ever. The river was great, the food scrumptious, the scenery spectacular, and the company wonderful." --David

"I was also very impressed, and always have been, with the safety factor which comes first with you and your guides. Your staff really knows the river and how to react to emergencies. Thank you for a tremendous experience and a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. --Cyndy

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North Cascades River Expeditions
PO Box 116
Arlington, Wa 98223
360-435-9548  fax 360-435-0796
Toll Free: 1-800-634-8433

Copyright 1997-2017, North Cascades River Expeditions, inc. All rights reserved.