Carson, E. Fork - Hangman's Bridge to Hwy 395

Carson, E. Fork, California, US/Nevada, US


Hangman's Bridge to Hwy 395 (Markleeville to Gardnerville)

Usual Difficulty II+(III) (for normal flows)
Length 19 Miles
Avg. Gradient 25 fpm

Lower East Fork Carson

Lower East Fork Carson
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 05/14/05 @ 1350 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-10308200 400 - 4000 cfs II+(III) 00h51m 959 cfs (running)

River Description

The EF Carson is a popular and scenic class 2 stretch, but it is more difficult in two respects than the rating can indicate.   The water is very cold, so swims could lead to hypothermia.   While the rapids are not difficult, they are non stop in the early miles.   The current constantly pushes towards one bank or the other and those banks are undercut cliffs in many areas.   Constant manuvering is required to stay in the center of the channel.  

People often take two days and camp at hot springs, but one day runs are also feasible.  

The run is popular for boaters with whitewater open canoes with float bags.  

To reach put-in, drive south on highway 89/4 to Markleeville, and continue about a mile past town to Hangman's Bridge, where there is an outhouse. You can find better put-in spots upstream between the highway and river. Even on Friday nights, campsites are often available at a USFS campground down a dirt road before the bridge. Shuttles are readily available by inquiring at stores in Markleeville.

To reach take-out, drive north to highway 88, turn right, and descend into Nevada. You can take a shortcut by turning right on Centerville Lane, and left across a bridge before Dresslerville, although going all the way to Minden and turning right on highway 395 thru Gardnerville works too. On 395 just past the Lahonton Fish Hatchery, turn right onto a dirt road where the highway starts climbing a hill. The BLM parking lot is uphill at the end of the dirt road.

In years past, good shuttle service has been available near Markleeville. Paul and Gloria Washam operate a long-time company, Family Shuttle Service at 530-694-2966. The Markleeville General Store recommends River Rat Shuttle Service at 530-694-2448.

There are toilets at Hangman's Bridge put in, at the take out and one pit toilet about halfway down.   Those camping on the river should bring their own toilet systems, though they are not required.

Other Information Sources: 
Description in Bill Tuthill's California Creekin.
BLM - Carson River page

Cassady & Calhoun, Holbek & Stanley, Gerald Meral.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-05-15 04:57:09

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 4 2012 (1791 days ago)
Slinkin (154390)
Just wanted to post that I have done this river for many years and I did it for the first time this
season on this last, tuesday, 5/1 - 5/2 2012. I had a most excellent trip with an overnight at the
hotsprings. Everything was great until we got out at the Dam. When we walked to where we had parked
our takeout vehicle we found nothing but a pile of ash and marks from where it had been towed. We
found out later that someone had come over night and burned our car into nothing more then a metal
frame. The police know nothing and can give us no help. I just want to send out a warning to all of
those doing this river. We have very little money and losing a vehicle like this is a huge set-back
for us. Please all others be wary, I don't wish this stress on anyone!

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