Pauley Creek (Lower)
|Distance:||3.5 miles, Half day|
|Flows:||200-500 cfs. Current Dreamflows (est) gauge|
|Shuttle:||~5 miles (10 minutes)|
|Season:||Winter and Spring, from snowmelt|
|Featured in Video One and Three.|
Recommend: Run with Lavezolla Creek on a double header.
Recommendation Update: run with Middle Pauley and Rosassco Canyon on the North Yuba, straight through as one run. Great day.
This run on Pauley Creek was described to me as the introduction to waterfalls run for any boater aspiring to run waterfalls. So as an aspiring paddler, I headed out there two weekends later. As I discovered, waterfalls are fun and this run had a lot of waterfalls. In addition to the spectacular paddling, the scenery was amazing as Downieville is tucked way into the mountains.
There are three very large drops with at least five other large drops, slides, or cascades on this run, all of which are fun to run as well as to look at.
Thanks to Ryan Cramer for contributing a few photos for this write-up.
- Gorge (IV-). The First gorge begins on a right turn. There are a few small drops which
lead up to the final drop which tightens up. The last drop is best run on the right,
but avoid being pushed up onto the shore on the right, then avoid being pushed onto
the wall on the left.
Federal Falls (IV+). This 12-15 foot drop comes immediately after a large tree crosses the entire creek. The drop is scoutable/portagable on the left and is run on the right.
Double Drop (IV). Just downstream is a double drop. At low water it is not a problem, however as water comes up the center and left side becomes a meaty hole.
Slide (IV). A fun slide ends in a boof, then continues sliding and ends in a ledge which can get stick, finish the ledge on the right.
Drop (IV-). About a half mile later, there is a 6-8 foot river-wide drop. The hole at the bottom has been known to work people in its backwash. Scout/portage on left, run on center/right.
- Slip and Slide (IV+). This 15-18 foot drop has an eddy on the left at lower water levels.
The drop has 8-10 foot steep slide followed ending at a 5-8 foot vertical drop. Run on
Caution: About a quarter mile later, the river splits around a rock jumble; the left although looking runnable, is very tight but as of 2006 clear of logs, run right.
- Pauley Falls (V). The river gets extremely bony as you approach Pauley Falls. There is a
5-foot drop immediately above the falls which could hold some severe consequences. You should
scout from the road before you run it as to familiarize yourself with the approach to the
first drop and ensuing eddy. You can eddy out to portage or scout again on the right, before
or after the ledge.
Take out: Take Highway 49 to Downieville, follow main street out of town. Main street parallels Downie Creek out of town, follow signs towards “Second Divide Trail.” On the right, there will be parking as Pauley turns away from the road, right after a bridge. A short trail leads to Pauley Falls and is accessible easily from above or below the falls.
Put in: Continue driving up the road to the Second Divide. At the crest of the road, park and follow the Road down to the house (be respectful and quite of the house please) and down to the river. The Second Divide Trail is 10 feet up the hill from the road, that willt ake you to the Middle Pauley Run.
View Pauley Creek, Lower (North Yuba) in a larger map
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