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Middle Fork of the Kaweah River

The Boundary run on the Kaweah River is one of the best class IV runs in California, yet not as well known as Chamberlain's Falls on the North Fork American or Edward to Purdon's on the South Yuba. In a way the Gateway run of the Kaweah is everything these well known runs are not; far from population centers (that have an outdoor community), roadside with a short shuttle, and almost no flat water. In just 1.25 miles this section drops 100' and has as many rapids as Chambies or EP.

The Gateway Restaurant and Lodge perched over the Middle Fork Kaweah River.

This section starts just inside Sequoia National Park, and five minute walking down a good trail provides access to the river.

On a nice day the views are fantastic.

If you're at all stressed about the run, these signs will ease any apprehension.

At the start the river is flat, thanks to a diversion dam downstream. Hydroelectric projects and diversion dams in National Parks, conservation hard at work. Thankfully the dam can be run anywhere, we typically go right of center.

For the first half mile it's a series of nice class IV rapids with good pools, the longest being before the main show at Gateway. Just above the restaurant is a long boulder garden with several moves and big eddies, but no pools. This is the rapid that used to be harder, until some time ago a rock shifted making the crux move much safer. Most class IV kayakers will still scout this drop their first time down.

The author in the final move of the Gateway rapid.

Phil Boyer exits the final move of the Gateway rapid at lower flows.

Smiles and good times, Eric Giddens, Shannamar Dewey, Haven Livingston and Phil Boyer below the main rapid.

As it goes under the Pumpkin Hollow Bridge the Kaweah braids out into several low volume channels. We take the right channel under the bridge, then move left.

Then the character changes as the East Fork Kaweah joins, the riverbed is wide and there are many options for lines.

There are two good class IV rapids, both splashier than one would expect. Shannamar Dewey in the first splashy rapid.

Logistics are easy, yet complicated. It's possible to continue on, but the section below requires more water. Putting in requires a National Park Pass, the cheapest of which is $30 for a week. Take out is on private land, but if you stay at the Three Rivers Hideaway in town, you're in luck because Dave also owns the take out property. Just ask him for the access code and he is kind enough to share with clients.

Google Maps for Put-in and Take-out.

Top to bottom footage of the whole section.

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