Rock Creek (Below Lake Lula)
|Stretch:||Below Lake Lula (Permission is required)|
|Difficulty:||Class IV to V|
|Flows:||1’ to 4’?. No Gauge|
|Gradient:||563 fpm average then 69 fpm|
|Put-in:||Lula Lake Land Trust (See rules)|
|Shuttle:||14 Miles (30 minutes one-way – rough dirt road)|
|Season:||Winter and Spring off of Rain|
|Featured in Video A Wet State #57|
On the second day of my January business trip, we headed just a short distant from Rucker and Phil’s house to Rock Creek. This run is a superb steep creek backyard run, certainly errors on the side of manky at times (partially due to the lowest end of low water that we had), but still, some classic drops exist even at those flows. At highwater, most of our portages are runnable and a few looked like they might be the best rapids of the run.
First things first, there are major restrictions on boating this river. Permission is always needed. The put-in and the portage around the first two falls are on a private land trust who graciously allows boaters to access the river there. Even using an alternate upstream put-in would involve portaging on the private land and thus permission is needed. Also, speaking of the first two falls, the first one although looking tempting to run, is strictly forbidden by the land trust folks for people to boat. Now although I doubt the legality of the restriction, the falls below 100 feet landing on rocks, and as such a portage using the land trust’s land is required… so the moral of the story is don’t bite the hand that feeds you and don’t run the first waterfall. Seriously, get permission, and don’t run the first falls (or the second, but that is obvious). Also, while I am stating things, don’t drag your boat. It is a short walk so carry the boat. Don’t leave plastic shavings all over their ground.
Ok, so now a little more about the run. The run starts with a quick hike around the top two falls entering and leaving Lula Lake. The grotto in between is beautiful with cliffed out walls and crystal clear emerald green water. The portage is on a road that then drops down steeply onto a trail just below the 100 footer. Below, the rapids start immediately. A few good ones were then greeted by some very congested (and at low water unrunnable rapids) that were walked without too much effort. The rapids keep coming with a portage thrown in here and there until all too quickly the rapids cease and you are greeted by some very nice houses lining the river and an arduous paddle (when low) for the remaining mileage to the car downstream.
Land Manager Permission Contact:
Permission Form: Walden’s Ridge has it here...…
Sign the Waiver before boating too…
Thanks to Daniel Rucker for his contribution of photos...
And for more info, see the Walden's Ridge page...
- Boof Boof Slide (IV-V). The first rapid you come to and probably the most fun. The first and second boof are taken far right pointing right. The slide is best run down the right pointing right to avoid the undercut on the left at the bottom. This rapid is really fun and starts the day off right!
Too Low Portages (IV-V). At the low water we portaged 4 drops one after the other. It is too bad too, because all but the last are totally good to go with enough water. The third one reminded me of the “Go Left” drop of the Upper Middle Cosumnes, but alas without water landed on an unfriendly rock. The first one, we portaged left, the final three we portaged right, seal launching in below the last one in a small micro channel which led back to the main flow.
A few nice in between boofs and slots lead to the largest single drop on the run.
Insurance Bluff (IV-V). We sealed launched in on the left to avoid running the lead in which although was easy, flirted with disaster of going into the massive sieve on the right. So we just seal launched in and slid down the ramp. Good fun.
Boof with a Pin (IV+ to V). An easy enough rapid but it is totally blind and has a nasty pin on the right. Drive left in the entry and keep heading left despite the current pushing and sliding you right. The pin is far right, but it is really easy to slide over there.
Turtle (IV-V). Probably the best multi-move rapid of the run, or at least up there with Boof Boof Slide. Run down the ledges in the left channel. Boof, then Boof again, then boof again, and once again. All are clean.
The Piton Rapid (IV). Not a hard rapid, but man it sucks at the low water. Get into the small micro right channel and wheel chair to the exit. The lip is formed by a sieve, so don’t mess around here. Then slide down the exit avoiding the piton rock at the base. Not a fun rapid, and has plenty of consequence.
The Slot (IV+). A manky lead in leads to a tight constriction with overhangs on both sides. Just get your paddle straight and point downriver. A really fun ending to the run.
- The paddle out starts, quickly you paddle by two very nice houses along the river and over a few small manmade dams. The brush gets worse and if you have only 1 foot on the gauge you will be wishing you had more. It is over quick enough though.
Take-out: OK, although the map is below and you could figure it out… I am going to defer to Walden’s Ridge page... that way you have to few that page and get more warnings about getting permission… so go look there for the directions. Put-in: See above...
View Rock Creek in a larger map
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