Indian Creek (Lower)
|Stretch:||Indian Falls to the Y|
|Distance:||3.5 miles, half day|
|Flows:||400-1500 cfs. Current Dreamflows gauge|
|Take-out:||The Y (confluence with E. Br. N. Feather)|
|Shuttle:||3.75 miles, 5 minutes|
|Season:||Winter and Spring, Rain and snow melt|
So Stanley and Holbek include this run in their book, but they include the 1.5 miles upstream of it as well. With that 1.5 miles included the run becomes class V+, however if you put in below the falls you can get a nice class IV run in. This run is short, only took us 1 hour or so with all boat scouts, but made for a good warm up to later in the day go run the East Branch of the North Feather downstream. The day we ran this creek Spanish Creek was reading 230 cfs on Dreamflows. I have been told that a good estimate of the flow on Indian Creek is double Spanish Creek and this day it seemed accurate, we figured we had maybe about 500 cfs in the creek. The run could be done with a little less, however we were already taking paddle strokes off the rocks below us and I think with too much less water it might become junky. At the flow we had some of the rapids were tight and creeky between rocks, while others were river style bedrock rapids. (Now there is a gauge on Indian Creek)
Our weekend was supposed to include staying in the area for 3 days and running this creek along with the downriver E Br. N. Feather, a thing which after our first runs I was looking forward to. However at the end of the latter run my friend dislocated his arm and we were unable to complete our weekend plans. However, I do intend on going back up to this area to finish the Feather run, and will do Indian Creek again too.
When driving up the road, take time to scout the last and biggest rapid right above the confluence, impossible to miss. It is possible to scout from river level as well on either right or left.
- Drop (IV-). A rocky entrance leads to a small cascade. It is kind of hard to boat
scout but was clean left of center.
Chute (IV). Another rocky entrance leads to a bad piton rock. We ran the entrance and eddied out right above the main drop. We then ferried across the river to the left and ran a narrow chute in the middle/left of the river. The chute leads drops 4 feet then launches you off a kicker into a hole that was fine at lower flows. At higher water I imagine you could run middle/left down the entrance too.
Portage? (?). So we came to this drop (at mile 0.75) and boat scouted center, got scared, got out and scouted right, too shallow and looked across the river to the left nd saw more water going that way, but laziness prevailed and we portaged. Apparently the left side is clean. The rapid comes when you see a bridge around the river corner to the right. The river has an obvious and very large blind horizon line which seems to drop the river into a wall. There was scouting locations on the left shore as I remember.
Undercut (III-). There was a small rocky rapid which at the end was constricted between a pour over and a undercut rock. The undercut was not dangerous, you just had to watch your side as you went by it as the boat could get underneath it, only consequence was flipping and getting a bruise.
- Center Right (IV). A class II lead in brings you to the top of this short but large
rapid. An eddy exists just at the lip on the left, we boat scouted from here.
We ran down the left center chute heading right and dropped into a few large holes.
- Rail Ride (III-). Another rocky entrance leads to a pour over. We ran into an eddy
just above it on the right. From here you could rail ride the curler around the
cushion, of from above you could run straight through the pour over in the center.
Entrance (IV-). The river gorges up, marking the beginning of the last rapid. The first section comes ~100 yards above the final spectacular finish. For this part, we dripped into the hole and slipped between two rocks and into a hole. It also looked like you could boof off the flake on the left.
The Dragon's Back (IV or IV+). This is a long rapid which could be painful to mess up in. The moves arenít that hard, but swimming would result in bruises at the least for sure. There were several holes to maneuver through before the first and most crucial ledge. We ran the right of center of this hole where the most water was flushing. We then hurried to the left to not be swept down the right channel in the split just below. The right channel drops into a 90 degree turn, then drops either through a very narrow slot into a big hole or over rocks. We went left at this split which leads to a drop between the center island and a fin rock. After this, the river bends right, try to pick a deep less rocky channel to finish the rapid.
Take out: Continue about 17 miles up Highway 70 from Belden to the junction of 89 and 70. We took out a hundred yards up the creek on 89.
Put in: Continue 3.5 miles up 89 until you see a turnoff for a campground. It is the second right turn as I remember once you enter the town of Indian Falls. The turn is to the right and almost back so it is some what easy to miss. Just a hundred feet down the dirt road is a parking area and signs for the Indian Creek Falls (except it is called by its Indian Name which I didnít write down).
View Indian Creek (North Feather) in a larger map
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