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Home->Washington River Trips->Skagit River

Skagit River Rafting

[ Whitewater Trips | Family Floats | Accommodations | Dining | Skagit Photo Gallery ]

The Skagit River is the 2nd longest river in Washington State and is set in a beautiful mountain valley. Ambling emerald currents sprinkled with rapids converge with lush ancient growth forests on our Upper Skagit River Whitewater Rafting trips. This is a great introduction to whitewater for thrill-seekers and adventurers alike.

If thrilling whitewater isn't quite what you're looking for, witness the circle of life first hand on our Class I Salmon & Bald Eagle Float trips. Spawning salmon create the incentive for hundreds of bald eagles from Alaska and Canada to converge on the river valley. Marvel at the natural beauty and wildlife wonders as you travel this 10 mile stretch of the Skagit River. These trips usually last about 4 hours and are available December, January, and February.

Raft coming into a Class II rapid on the Upper Skagit River

Whitewater Rafting Trips

Map of the Skagit RiverUpper Skagit Whitewater

• Season: July-August
• Ages: 6+
• Meeting location: Goodell Creek Campground. HWY 20 at mile post 119. Newhalem, WA
• Meeting times: Mon-Sun 10am
• Class/Difficulty: Class II-III / Beginner
• Duration/Length: 4 hours / 10 miles
• Gear provided? Yes (no wetsuits)
• Meal provided? No. Recommend Tootsie's Sawmill Cafe, Que Car BBQ, Birdsview Brewing Company

The Upper Skagit River is located in the Ross Lake National Recreation area of North Cascades National Park. Another beautiful and moderate whitewater trip for the family, this river is a great destination for the summer time. There are plenty of things to see and do outdoors in the surrounding areas including winery tours, blueberry picking farms, hiking, canoeing, and many beautiful waterfalls. Be sure to stop in at the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center just past our boat launch at Goodell Creek for additional information on area activities. This whitewater rafting trip offers astounding views just outside the North Cascades National Park.

The upper section of the Skagit River is rated as Class II-III and is good for ages 6 and over. A moderate amount of whitewater is enhanced by the overwhelming presence of nature on this 10 mile rafting journey. The mountain scenery and abundant waterfowl make this a perfect nature-lover's outing and one that is a great trip for the whole family. There are plenty of oppurtunities to go swimming and even a big rock to jump from if the water levels are right. This trip meets near the small town of Marblemount, WA. For meeting location information for Upper Skagit whitewater rafting trips, see the Information & Maps page. Review our Skagit River rafting rates, then make your reservation today!


Family Floats on the Skagit River

The Great Tower Rock viewed from near the Cispus River.

Bald Eagle & Salmon Float

• Season: November - February
• Ages: 6+
• Meeting location: Howard Miller Steelhead Par, Rockport
• Meeting times: Mon - Sun 10am (custom)
• Class/Difficulty: Class I / Beginner
• Duration/Length: 4 hours / 8 miles
• Gear provided? No
• Meal provided? Optional

Join us for Alpine Adventures' tour of the wildlife-protected-section of the Skagit River. This river, from Marblemount to Rockport, is managed by a coalition of agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife, Skagit County, and the Nature Conservancy. This ten mile tour includes rafting through the Bald Eagle Sanctuary.


The Bald Eagles along the Skagit have migrated from the mountains and coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest. These birds congregate around an abundance of food - like the dead, spawned-out salmon. The salmon runs begin earlier in the rivers of Alaska and British Columbia, so the eagles migrate there first and then move south as the runs of salmon enter the rivers down here in Washington. The largest concentration of Bald Eagles in North America is in Alaska on the Chilkat River where over 750 eagles have been counted. The Bald Eagles wintering on the Skagit River and nearby Nooksack River comprise the largest gathering of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. In 2007, 537 Bald Eagles were counted in this area by the official bird counters of the US Forest Service. See these amazing birds for yourself!

The Skagit River valley region is also significant for its Native American history and culture. Pacific Northwest area tribes often centered around a river. The Skagit, which takes its name from two distinct bands, the Upper Skagit and Lower Skagit, is believed to have been a significant trade route to exchange goods from the salt water ocean and dense forests with the resources of the semi-arid climate of eastern Washington. Archeologists recently discovered evidence of indigenous people utilizing this region for fishing, hunting and gathering as far back as 8,000 years ago. While mountain trails were used by hunters, the river was a feasible way to travel and connect people. You can experience the magic of the Skagit as you float down the same river used by these tribal people. Join us and discover the abundance and unique interconnectedness of salmon and eagles. Determine if you believe, as these Native Americans believed, that animals can teach life lessons and offer inspiration. The salmon is thought to symbolize instinct, strength and determination, whereas the eagle symbolizes freedom, protective power, and courage.

We recommend a warm hat, scarf, gloves, and some waterproof boots. Oh, and don't forget your camera for this one! Click here for Skagit River rafting rates, or Make your reservation today!


Preferred accommodations for rafting on the Skagit River

Skagit River Resort

360-873-2250 | Rockport, WA |

Skagit River Resort Skagit River Resort offers seven Theme Cabins (each decorated in a unique style with authentic furnishings) with queen bedrooms, bathrooms with glass enclosed showers, sky lights, fireplace, gourmet kitchens and beamed vaulted ceilings. Sliding glass doors open out to a private deck and a meadow of bunnies, with a view of the mountains in the distance. They also have 19 very charming older Country Cabins that range in size from one to three bedrooms, all with indoor bath facilities. All have either a full country kitchen, mini-kitchen or gourmet kitchen, with cookware, utensils, dishes, dish soap and towels supplied. They have one triplex cabin that consists of three adjoining units. Each end unit is equipped with a coffee-bar, while the center unit has a regular kitchen. Each unit can be rented individually or interconnected -- maximum sleeping occupancy is 12 people if you put two people in each bed and two on each hideabed. All cabins have color cable TV with HBO. The new Brookhaven Lodge B&B facility has furnished rooms with shared bath. The pricing for these accommodations includes breakfast at The Eatery. The newest accommodations are five smaller cabins called Chalets (each named after a local wildlife species), located in the wooded Forest Court area. They have two Recreational Vehicle Parks, the Sun Court and the Forest Court. The Sun Court is the older court with 12 spaces fairly close together, in the sun and near all the bunnies. The Forest Court has 18 sites, all with underground cable T.V., water, lights, and sewer and nice foliage between each site. During the summer they have other accommodation options. They have four of their own travel trailers and a 5th Wheel RV that can be booked to provide overnight accommodation when the other cabins are full. Tent camping sites are available on the open lawn (lots of bunnies around you!), or in a more secluded forest setting. Tell them Alpine sent ya!

Buffalo Run Inn

360-873-2103 | Marblemount, WA |

Buffalo Run Inn The Buffalo Run Inn is conveniently located at the Western entrance to the North Cascades National Park across the road from the Skagit River. This historic 1889 old growth cedar roadhouse was a frequent watering hole for the gold miners, mountain men, lumberjacks and mule trains traveling up the Skagit River into the North Cascade mountains. Today it is a luxurious Bed and Breakfast with the famous Buffalo Run Restaurant across the street! Air Conditioned Luxury Rooms, Queen Beds, Cable TV, Kitchenettes, In-Room Coffee, WI-FI Available. Sorry - No Smoking, No Pets. All reservations must be made online. No reservations will be made by phone to avoid double bookings. Tell them Alpine sent ya!

Other accommodations for rafting on the Skagit River

Hotels / Motels

Ross Lake Resort 206-386-4437 Cascade Mountain Inn 360-826-4333
North Cascade Inn 800-251-3054 Three Rivers Inn & Rest 800-221-5122

Camping / Campgrounds




Time to River

Alpine Campground & RV



5 min.

Goodell Creek Campground



20 min.

Newhalem Campground



20 min.

Rockport State Park



10 min.

For more campground information, contact the following Ranger Offices:

Mt. Baker Ranger Station - 360-856-5700
Darrinton Ranger District - 360-436-1155
Skagit Ranger District - 360-873-4500

Dining & Eateries around the Skagit River

Tootie's Sawmill Cafe |

Que Car BBQ |

Buffalo Run Restaurant |

Good Food Cafe |

Birdsview Brewing Company |


Information & Maps

Where to meet & driving directions

Washington State Rivers Map


Buy photos of your rafting adventure!

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