The classic course begins just downstream of Newhalem Campground (the put in). Paddling down to the start will take approximately ten minutes, and will provide a good warm up for the race run. The run is 20-25 minutes in length, and is mostly class II. The last 2-3 minutes of the course will be big water class III through the S-Bends.
The sprint course is through S-Bend rapids, and will last 120-180 seconds depending on water level. The first half consists of two big wave trains, and the second half is either waves (high water) or boils and tricky currents (lower water). The rapids are class III.
SkagitRiverBoatingMapGuideCourse for a Race Course map.
SkagitRiverBoatingMapGuide-Full2 shows the race course as well as the rest of the Skagit River from MP 5 in Newhalem [race course area] to MP 17 in Concrete.