Darin McQuoid Blog Reviews Tutorials River Directory

Slate Creek into the Sacramento River

Slate Creek is the creeking gem of the Sacramento River drainage. Fickle flows tend to keep it a locals only run, but if the stars align, or to be exact, rain falls, a great day can be had on Slate Creek. The run is generally steep boulder gardens with the occasional piece of bedrock mixed in, and one notably hazardous rapid that's often portage. The flow range is quite wide, with no on line gauge adding to the adventure.  Slate Creek lies roughly thirty miles north of Redding, California. From I5 simply take the Slate Creek/La Moine exit and drive towards the creek. Within viewing distance of the freeway bridge is the old highway bridge, which conveniently has a physical gauge painted on it, with corresponding colors for low, medium and high.

At lower flows things can be a bit manky yet fun.

"Roulette" at lower flows.

Roulette at higher flows, where the hole can be rather troublesome and a roll of the dice to get through, giving the rapid its name.

The same from below.

The author running more Slate Creek bedrock.

Midway through the run it's important to stay on your toes and not drop into any blind boulder gardens. Poker Falls is not really much of a falls, but very much a sieve for most the river. There is a thin line on the right, but a rocky lead-in makes it hard to gain momentum to get to the right channel. At all but the highest flows there is a quick portage from the right bank to an island in the middle of the river. From the island one can still run the fun last move of Poker Falls and avoid the danger of the sieves. Once below Poker Falls the river is very continuous, especially at higher flows. Over a foot and a half on the gauge it's one big rapid down to the waterfall, the highlight of Slate Creek

From the left bank.

Below the falls are several more fun rapids until the small, private powerhouse (generally) adds a significant amount of water to the river. Then things go from low volume creeking to big fun rapids all the way down to take-out at the bridge of the confluence with the Sacramento River.

   Daniel's video of Slate Creek.

There are two options for putting in. To access both from take out, head up a dirt road on river left that parallels the river, which does not stay in view. The first access is a steep, hard to see jeep trail that cuts on the left. You have to keep your eyes peeled to see it, but this access is below the toughest/mankiest section of Slate Creek. You can also put in further up the road where the bridge crosses. This is the steepest and most boulder strewn section of Slate Creek, and often has wood in it too. I personally avoid this access.

It's also worth noting that the gauge is below the powerhouse. Sometimes the powerhouse is off, which puts much more water in the upper section than normal. If flows are at a minimum, this is a great thing. If flows are already juicy, be ready for a wild ride!

Slate Creek is an fantastic run for any solid class IV, V, boater. It is truly one of the crown jewels of northern Ca. if you can catch it going off. If you want a good first run pace. 8-10inches on the gauge. If you like it fast and pushy anything above 10 inches will amp up the pucker factor. Couple mandatory scouts at higher flows. And some must make moves if you decide not to portage. I would suggest hooking up with someone who knows this run for your first time down. The waterfall at the top of the class IV section is usually always runnable. If there was enough water to get you there. Then its good to go. Just scrap over the boof on river left. 
George W.
Redding, Ca."

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...