O'Toole Creek

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O'Toole Creek Canyoneering Canyoning Caving
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O'Toole Creek Banner.jpg

Red Tape:No permit required
Condition Reports:
16 Sep 2023

"Great day out- easy access and exit. Low flow- at parking lot, the boulders and cobbles are mostly exposed with just a bit of water flowing between. W

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Best season:
Summer, Fall (avg for this region)


A short but intense route, with an easy approach & exit. Rigged as a training canyon to facilitate practicing techniques such as traverse lines & guided rappels year round.

However don't let its length, ease of access, & well placed bolts fool you; hazards from the flow & exposure can be very substantial.

O'Toole can be easily paired with Pilot Creek in a day. Starting with a basic introduction to techniques at Pilot, O'Toole can then offer a progression to more substantial obstacles. The combination of routes offers a logistically simple and good length day.


Park at the turnout just west of O'Toole creek (the creek is sign-posted on the South Skagit Highway) [48.5105, -121.9201]. Don't block the barrier.

Note: the Forest Service maps inaccurately mark the location of the turn out and the exact course of the creek. This page has accurate positions.


Rope lengths are estimates and need to be checked.

  • R1 30ft- DCR pair of bolts, dry rappel, several feet down the chute. Or from constriction if slippery. In lower flow rapping from a mid-stream boulder can provide a wet option.
  • Traverse - Single bolt DCR allows for a retrievable traverse line around the corner to R2. Only needed in higher flow, but a good place to practice in lower flow.
  • R2 25ft - DCR bolts from ledge. Even when deep, the pool contains a lot of submerged boulders making jumping hard.
    • Low flow - rap down and swim across. Exiting the pool up to R3 can be tricky. A single old piton provides an anchor to clip a foot loop to.
    • High flow - The first person can be sent across to establish a guided rappel using bolts at the far side.
  • R3 - DCL multiple bolts & chains.
    • In lower flow: 140-150ft, continue all the way to the pool below in one go. (Note this was previously listed as 115’- don’t short-rope yourself!)
    • In higher flow: 80ft, after descending the vertical rock transitions into a slope, take the ledge DCL to the top of a massive log. From there R4, 80ft, uses the webbing on either side of the log to reach the pool below.

Continue creek walking downstream.

  • J1 - 10ft jump from a boulder into a medium-deep pool below (used by locals). Gravel bottom - depth check first. Optional bypass via fixed line DCR.


Follow the creek back to the parking turnout.

Red tape

Access to the creek is via private land owned by Green Crow. They have confirmed walking/biking the road to access the creek is fine as long as its not signed for active logging.

Please help keep the turnout, access road, and creek clean by packing out your/others’ trash. Bring a trash bag and be respectful to the locals’ wishes.

Beta sites

2021 Discussion around access & beta: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pnwcanyoning/posts/10159405556480789

Trip reports and media




Information provided by automated processes. KML map by (unknown). Main photo by (unknown). Authors are listed in chronological order.

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