Class IV-V Sultan River, WA

Upper & Lower Sultan (Spada Reservoir to Sultan)

The Sultan River was one of the Pacific Northwest's premiere whitewater rivers before the construction (1965) and later enlargement (1982) of Culmback Dam. Today, paddling opportunities on the Upper Sultan only occur when the level of Spada Reservoir reaches the overflow tubes at 1450' and water once again returns to the channel (this typically occurs only once every few years) or during extremely heavy rain events (i.e. flooding on area rivers). With the hydropower license issued in 2014, the utility has a goal of providing four whitewater boating opportunities each year with at least two of these scheduled in advance (typically in late April and early September). Check the Snohomish PUD whitewater page for more information on upcoming opportunities and to sign up in advance. The lower Sultan be run most of the year. Throughout the year. Water is most dependable during the months of rain, November-April. (Source: American Whitewater)

Section Details

Trip Length Partial Day, 16.0 Miles
Fishing Yes
Camping No
Manager Private, Snohomish County Public Utility District
Wild & Scenic No
Water Trail No
Partner Information
Description American Whitewater
River Flow Information

This section of river is dependent on flow being released from an upstream hydropower dam.

Scheduled flow releases occur on the Upper section of the Sultan River a couple of times each year. The hydropower license and settlment agreement also led to improved access and a new trail down to the river.

(Henry Jackson, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission P-2157)