McCloud River (Wyntoon)
|Stretch:||Fowler's Campground to McCloud Reservoir|
|Difficulty:||Class III-IV, then III-|
|Distance:||10 miles (3 on reservoir), 1 day|
|Flows:||600-2400 cfs. Current CDEC gauge|
|Gradient:||69 fpm, Steeper at the beginning|
|Take-out:||Tarantula Gulch boat ramp on McCloud reservoir|
|Shuttle:||15 miles (20 minutes)|
|Season:||spring and summer: mostly spring-fed|
There aren’t any specific rapids to discuss on this stretch of the river since it is mostly one long rapid. A good way to describe this run would be to compare it to Coffee Creek or the West Walker…only easier. So far, I haven’t run this stretch while the snowmelt is high enough to provide an enjoyable first two miles. There are two waterfalls at or above the put-in. The first is a 40 footer, the second is a 15 ft drop.
Below the second on the right is a badly undercut ledge, avoid with fervor. About two miles below the Lower Falls the Big Springs adds water and the boating can begin in earnest (summer runs). The view of the Big Springs is what makes this run worth doing. The rapids are so so, but how often do you see a river flow out of the side of a mountain. Furthermore the water that comes out is the most brilliant turquoise you will ever see. The one other perk to the run is getting to gawk at the massiveness of the Heart mansions.
Take out: From Highway 5, take highway 98 near Dunsmuir. Follow to the town of McCloud (possibly the most beautiful town ever). Turn right in town at the Chevron on Squaw Valley Road. Follow this road nine miles, take the Tarantula Gulch boat ramp turn follow this the quarter mile or so to the lake. Boating to the take out: Once on the lake, follow the main channel. The bridge is about half way when the reservoir is full. Tarantula Gulch is on the right, the boat ramp is tucked on the inside slope all the way in the cove.
Put in: Drive east (away from highway 5) five and half miles. Turn right to Fowler’s Campground. Past the campground is the vista of the Lower Falls. Put in here or continue further. The road turns to dirt, about one mile on this road is a river access sign, a parking lot and trail to river exist.
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