Snohomish River

Coordinates: 48°1′16″N 122°12′30″W / 48.02111°N 122.20833°W / 48.02111; -122.20833
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Snohomish River
Snohomish River in Snohomish, Washington
Map of the Snohomish River and tributaries
Snohomish River is located in Washington (state)
Snohomish River
Mouth of the Snohomish River in Washington
Snohomish River is located in the United States
Snohomish River
Snohomish River (the United States)
CountryUnited States
Physical characteristics
SourceConfluence of the Skykomish River and the Snoqualmie River
 • locationMonroe
 • coordinates47°49′48″N 122°2′47″W / 47.83000°N 122.04639°W / 47.83000; -122.04639[1]
MouthPuget Sound
 • location
Port Gardner
 • coordinates
48°1′16″N 122°12′30″W / 48.02111°N 122.20833°W / 48.02111; -122.20833[1]
 • elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length20 mi (32 km)[2]
Basin size1,856 sq mi (4,810 km2)[3]
 • locationNear Monroe[4]
 • average9,511 cu ft/s (269.3 m3/s)[4]
 • minimum763 cu ft/s (21.6 m3/s)
 • maximum150,000 cu ft/s (4,200 m3/s)

The Snohomish River is a river in Snohomish County, Washington, formed by the confluence of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers near Monroe. It flows northwest entering Port Gardner Bay, part of Puget Sound, between Everett and Marysville. The Pilchuck River is its main tributary and joins the river at Snohomish. The river system drains the west side of the Cascade Mountains from Snoqualmie Pass to north of Stevens Pass.

Measured at Monroe, the Snohomish River has an average annual flow of 9,500 cubic feet per second (270 m3/s).[2] In comparison, the Columbia River, Washington's largest river, has an average flow of about 265,000 cubic feet per second (7,500 m3/s).[5]


State Route 9 bridge in front of Downtown Snohomish
Debris swept under Airport Way Bridge in Snohomish in November 2006

The Snohomish River forms at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Skykomish Rivers just west of Monroe. Both of these rivers originate in the Cascades and drain the west slopes of the mountains in southeastern Snohomish County and northeastern King County. The Snohomish River flows generally northwestward from the confluence, passing under state route 522 and flowing alongside Lord Hill Regional Park before reaching downtown Snohomish. Here, it is joined by the Pilchuck River, its main tributary, and flows under state route 9. From Snohomish, the river continues northwestward through a broad floodplain, forming the eastern boundary of the city of Everett. The final few miles of the river in Everett form the Snohomish River estuary, a river delta that features wetlands and tideflats spread out across various islands and arms of the river.[6] Several bridges carry U.S. Route 2, Interstate 5, and State Route 529 across the delta. The river then empties into Possession Sound, which is part of Puget Sound, between Everett and Marysville.

Panoramic view of the Snohomish River from downtown Snohomish


The lower Snohomish River was a site of major industry during the 20th century that contaminated the area with various pollutants, including oil and fuel products from former mills and factories. An ore smelter operated by ASARCO contaminated soil and groundwater near the Snohomish River with arsenic.[7] The river has also been used a site for illegal dumping of tires, litter, and batteries.[8] The county government began a program to remove derelict vessels, including old boats, in the Snohomish River delta in 2018; by 2023, the program had removed 27 vessels that had leaked pollutants into the river.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Snohomish River
  2. ^ a b Snohomish River Watershed Draft Initial Assessment Archived 2006-10-04 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Surface Water Management Division: Snohomish River Salmon Recovery
  4. ^ a b USGS Snohomish River gauge near Monroe
  5. ^ Kammerer, J.C. (May 1990). "Largest Rivers in the United States". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  6. ^ Brennick, Charles. "Snohomish River Estuary Recreation Guide". Snohomish County Estuary. Snohomish County government. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Sanders, Julia-Grace (September 30, 2020). "Port of Everett's next cleanup will bring jobs, public access". The Everett Herald. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  8. ^ Bryan, Zachariah (May 22, 2022). "Diving for trash in Snohomish River, biologist fills 59 pickup beds". The Everett Herald. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  9. ^ Van Sistine, Ta'Leah (December 30, 2023). "'My river': Locals take it upon themselves to clean up the Snohomish". The Everett Herald. Retrieved December 30, 2023.

External links[edit]