Middle Fork of the Kaweah River (Park Boundary)
|Stretch:||Park Boundary to… downriver|
|Difficulty:||Class IV to IV+|
|Distance:||0.65 miles (+3 miles to take-out)|
|Flows:||350 to ~1,500 cfs at Three Rivers. Current Dreamflows gauge|
|Gradient:||165 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Just inside the park at the turnout|
|Take-out:||Downriver, either at the campground, Dinley Bridge, or in Three Rivers or any other otpions you can sort out.|
|Shuttle:||0.7 miles ($20 park entry fee required)|
|Season:||Winter and Spring from rain/snowmelt|
Well… there really isn’t a whole lot to say about this run. It is really short… but it is much harder than the rapids below in Gateway. Therefore, it seems it is always broken out separately. I would say it is just a hard class IV, I am sure as flows come up it starts to turn into class IV+. However with that said, I think a class IV boater would probably be a bit intimidated in here. The crux section at the end is continuous and has numerous hazards. Certainly you would want someone familiar with the lines to show you the way if you don’t feel confident as a boat scouter. It is a great section though, packed full in its short mileage with fun rapids and a great addition to the downstream sections if you are up for the excitement.
For great write-ups see Bill Pooley's Park Boundary page.
- Dam (III). If the water is low, the dam is a fun attraction. Run anywhere. Take a look before though, at higher flow it could be dangerous. At 500 cfs it was mindless.
No. 1 (III to IV): A fun rapid that we ran down the left. There were plenty of rocks to dodge. At the end of the rapid the river hits the left shore, so try to stay off of it.
No. 2 (IV to IV+): This rapid starts with a little dam (only a couple feet tall). We went down the left which transitioned nicely. Below the river enters some slides with a few holes. We went down the right the whole way.
No. 3, 4 and 5 (III to IV): I don’t remember 3, it must have been small. 4 had a fun ramp with a hole at the bottom to get over. 5 was a simple ledge we ran left to right. The whole stack up came in quick succession.
No. 6 (IV+): When we ran this, I thought this rapid was the hardest… or at least certainly the most consequential. We entered right and boofed into a boily caldron that we exited along the right wall in a narrow chute. The hazard was that there was some sieves on the left side of the caldron. Worth scouting for sure. The next several rapids did not stick out in my mind.
- No. 11 (IV+): Once you see the restaurant/houses on the right, you know you are at the crux section. After a short entry which we ran down the left if I recall you get to what used to be a super ugly sieve. In the years since the Kaweah write-up was authored, the rock that caused the ugliness moved. There is still a hazard if you run down the far right of the slide as it goes into an undercut and sieve combo. However if you are center or left, you just punch the hole and all is good.
No. 12-13 (IV): We entered center and immediately moved far left to exit along the house size rock. This is the rapid you see from the Gateway bridge. You can scout from the bridge.
Take-out: Illegally you could try to park and take out at the Gateway bridge… but I am sure the shops would not appreciate that. The better option is to go to the Dinley Bridge just off of Highway 198 on Dinely Drive.
Put-in: Enter the park on Highway 198 and go less than a mile to the turnout on the right at the “Sequoia National Park” sign. There is a trial down to the water here.
View Middle Kaweah, Park Boundary in a larger map
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