Clear Creek (Below Whiskeytown Dam)
|Stretch:||Whiskeytown Reservoir to Sacramento Valley|
|Difficulty:||class IV (1 class V-) with easy sections|
|Distance:||7 miles, 1 day|
|Flows:||200 - 1000 (much stickier) cfs. Current Dreamflows gauge|
|Take-out:||Clear Creek Road bridge|
|Shuttle:||15 miles (half hour)|
|Season:||fall and winter, from dam release|
|Featured in Video One.|
I watched this run from March to May while waiting for a weekend to run it. In that period, the flows remained above the recommended 220 cfs, apparently this flow is usually present during fall and winter as well as during the spring as Whiskeytown reservoir is full before the spring runoff even begins.
The run consists of several miles of class I rapids with a heavy riparian zone leading to one portage around a bend just after a low bridge and campsite on right (Spring 2004). The rapids are all present in the last half of the run. There are three gorges, each getting progressively harder.
- The first gorge is class II-III, no scouting required.
- The second gorge is class III adding up to be a possible class IV.
Pinch Me (IV).One rapid in the gorge is caused when the rapid chokes into two narrow and relatively steep passages, scout on right, run on left.
- Finally, the third gorge is class IV with one class V.
Ski Jump (V-). The class V can be scouted on the right as well as run on the right. The rapid consists of a boof entry to ensure passage to the right of a large boulder; from there it is safest to remain far right through the remainder as to avoid breach points. Below 500 it is much more of a class IV...as in the pic. Remaining in the gorge are a few more class IV(+/-)s which if running for the first time should be scouted.
Rapid 2 (IV). Two rapids later, the river splits around a large rock. Run right of the rock and go over the drop, try to avoid smacking the wall on the right side of the drop.
Box Canyon (III+). Another rapid chokes to about 4 feet wide after a small drop, it is hard/impossible to scout but is safe enough to run.
There are a number of routes to get to the put ins and take out, so if you consult a map you may find better, however most tell to use a very bony road (Mule Town Road) which may be shorter in miles but is longer in time than the main roads.
Take out: Take the Swasey Rd off of 299 in the town of Shasta until it "T's" with Placer Rd, turn right. Drive 2 or 3 miles, there is parking before and after the bridge over Clear Creek. There is also another class III (so I have heard) gorge below that can be run, but I am not sure of the logistics, it adds some 3 miles I believe.
Put in: Drive back to 299, go towards the reservoir for about 1.5 miles, and turn left at the ranger station. Take this road for about a mile. For a longer stretch put in after the dam's power plant on a small, undrivable, dirt road off to the left. To cut off some of the Class I, drive to the bridge to "Camp N.E.E.D."
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