Sauk River

Adventure Cascades on the wild & Scenic Sauk River, photo by Adventure Cascades

The Sauk River, famous for its whitewater rafting,  flows 45 miles north until it meets the Skagit River.  The headwaters start
with two upper forks, the south fork and north fork. The north fork begins at Indian Head Peak and Johnston Mountain at
an elevation close to 7000 feet.

Looking down at the Sauk River from Gold Hill, photo by Martha Rasmussen

Dishpan Gap and Indian Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail pass right above the North Fork Sauk River headwaters.  As it flows down it picks up Sloan Creek near the North Fork Sauk trailhead.  Further down stream it picks up two more larger tributaries, Cougar Creek and Lost Creek.  Increasing in volume it is then forced through a canyon and makes a 60 foot drop creating the spectacular N.F. Sauk Falls and about 1/3 mile down stream the river again makes another 60 foot drop to a lower falls

South Fork Sauk River, photographer Nels Rasmussen

The South Fork Sauk River headwaters start at Glacier Basin, Wilman's Peak and Monte Cristo Peak at an elevation of about 6,500 feet in the Monte Cristo area.  This fork of the river flows north and parallels the Mountain Loop Highway.  As it flows past Barlow Pass it slows down and forms the Monte Cristo lake.  It will later pick up the tributaries of Elliott Creek, Chockwich Creek & Bedal Creek.  The north and south come together just south of the Bedal Campground to form the Sauk River. 

The confluence of the Suiattle & Sauk Rivers, photo by Petes_Earthart

The Sauk River is fed by the large tributaries of White Chuck River and Clear Creek, then flows along the east side of the town of Darrington.  Flowing north it will pick one last large tributary, the Suiattle River north of Darrington.  The Suiattle River fed by the Milk and Chocolate Glaciers of Glacier Peak are aptly named for the thick silt they deposit into the river often completely changing the colors of the Sauk River to a milky white to light brown at their confluence.  The river will continue to flow north and will become a tributary of the Skagit River.