Knapp was kind enough to point me in the direction of Upper Kidder,
mentioning a clean waterfall, 400fpm and overall decent quality. This
combined with the Kidder Creek having superb water quality and part of
this run being in the wilderness put it on my must run list. North
Kidder Creek road has some serious issues with quality and is often
gated. It took a 4wd truck with decent clearance to get up near the
trailhead. The road serves as the Kidder Creek Trailhead into the
Marble Mountain wilderness but is owned by a private company who
doesn’t want to maintain the road. All last year the road was
gated, but late last fall, and this spring the road has been blissfully
open. On the drive up the flows looked low, and the Scott River was at
We were able to drive most of the way up, but ¼ mile from
the trailhead we hit a snowdrift that was too deep to get over, so we
unloaded and started hiking.
The spring snow was pleasant to hike in, since we could
just drag our
boats without sinking in too much. This hike is about as easy as they
get, mostly level weaving through some beautiful forest. We eventually
bushwhacked a short hike to the river after maybe a mile of total
hiking, and lucked out putting in about 100 yards above the waterfall.
We dropped to the creek after the trail had a short climb around a
small ridge. Unfortunately there was a log above the falls which
shifted at some point. This is quite a shame considering how clean this
falls could be (and is currently). It’s beautiful anyways.
I wasn’t sure what the character of the
and was very pleasantly surprised at the quality after the waterfall.
Bedrock is the norm for about a mile, with lots of low angle Sierra
style granite slides, fun but could have used more water. This was
interspersed with a few fun, narrow mini gorge drops. Here is Jon
running a fun double drop after the slide section.
After suffering a brief and very annoying pin,
with a short
swim after my boat in “brisk” water was a feature
I’ve never had to deal with on the water. Of all things it
was an avalanche that went right into the riverbed, which prompted us
to portage around several trees it had dropped into the creek. Amazing
to see, the power of it was humbling with snapped trees sticking out.
The bottom of the avalanche.
it came from….
Downstream of this the creek was ok for a little
a few more
fun drops, but it started getting the mank on. Upper Kidder, when
it’s good, it’s really good, and when
it’s manky it doesn’t mess around. Jon and I
portaged this mess; perhaps some of it would clean up with higher flows.
In the 2-3 miles of creek we ran I’d estimate about
it is clean, and half is pretty manky. We were pretty tired when we
took out at Shelly Fork, which is the last flat spot on the drive up
with several old roads on the left before the road starts a steep climb
to the trailhead. I’ll hopefully be back to do this run, but
ideally with the Scott River flowing at 2,500-3,000.