SF Sauk River


South Fork Sauk River flowing along the Mountain Loop Highway with Fletcher Falls in the background, photographer Martha Rasmussen

The South Fork Sauk River headwaters start at Glacier Basin, Wilman's Peak, Northwest side of Columbia Peak and Monte Cristo Peak at an elevation of about 6,500 feet in the Monte Cristo area. area.  The river flows mostly northwest through the Seventysix Gulch and on the Monte Cristo, once a goldrush boom town of the late 1800s. 

The beautiful South Fork Sauk River, photographer Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

Just as it reaches Monte Cristo it picks up the large tributaries Glacier Creek and later Weden Creek.  At this point it bends at Barlow Pass and begins to flow north.  Much of this river flows north and parallels the Mountain Loop Highway.  At one time this river fed into Monte Cristo Lake but due to land changes the lake no longer holds back the water and looks more and more just like a stretch of river.

The South Fork Sauk River flowing along the west side of the Bedal Campground, Photographer Kay Stearson

During the Pleistocene era it is speculated that the South Fork Sauk River once flowed west through Barlow Pass and was a tributary of the South Fork Stillaguamish River but due to land changes takes the present course.  The river will continue to flow north picking up the large tributaries, Elliot Creek, Bedal Creek and Chockwich Creek which all have waterfalls.  After it flows past the Bedal Campground it will be joined by the North Fork Sauk River and become the Sauk River.