Sunday, January 9, 2011

Butte Creek: Wilson Rd Stretch

With the water dropping out and not wanting a big mission after the Pine Creek debacle, Matt King, my dad, and I went to check out Upper Upper Butte Creek.  Scouting reports mentioned class III bedrock, which sounded just fine to me.

Low water kept Matt from putting on (he is trying to be kinder to his new boat), but my dad and I decided to find out what was in there anyway.

Turns out Upper Upper Butte creek is a nice little run.  I would say it is very similar in challenge to Upper Thomas creek with its own distinct feel.  The rapids are class III+ with a drop in the class IV range every now and then.  The first half of the run was all boulder gardens that went from III- near the beginning to IV- near the end.

 There was one ledge in there that could develop a plucky hole at higher water.  

The second half of the run begins with a turn to the right over bedrock.  The next section (1 mile?)  Is mostly various class III-IV slides that are continuous.

 This section comes to an end where there are two drops that end with large, obviously different from the rest of the run, boulders along the bank that the water moves into.  The first one may be dangerous at some levels as the water goes under it.  Run as far right as the current will allow, or try a drain hole esque move in front of it.  Below here it is class two for a hundred yards until you arrive at the take-out bridge!


I would say the current wood situation renders the run inappropriate for a class III boater, fortunately the wood is generally of the size that moves around with large floods.  I plan to go back.

Access is not challenging.  Follow directions to Butte Creek falls (a fun park and huck that can be done after Upper Upper Butte), which is a good take out.  From there continue upstream until the road crosses a bridge (another take out option)

Continue past the bridge until you reach another road (Wilson Rd), turn right and continue a little over 2 miles to a spur road on the right that quickly reaches a bridge over Butte Creek at the put in.

Here is a map of this section of Butte Creek, the falls are marked at the take out.
Click to enlarge

This one needs a lot of water. I would shoot for about 1,000 cfs or higher on the Butte Creek gauge. We probably had 600 on that estimate which was floatable but scrapey.


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