McCloud - McCloud Reservoir to Lake Shasta


McCloud, California, US

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McCloud Reservoir to Lake Shasta (Lower)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 23 Miles

Close Shave


Close Shave
Photo by Dave Steindorf taken 05/16/11

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
MCCLOUD R AT AH-DI-NA
cdec-MCA 400 - 1600 cfs III-IV 00h57m 1335 cfs (running)
This range is a very rough guess.
McCloud Below McCloud Dam
dream-158 400 - 1600 cfs III-IV 00h57m 1112 cfs (running)
MCCLOUD RIVER ABOVE SHASTA LAKE
cdec-MSS 800 - 2400 cfs III-IV 01h42m 4159 cfs (too high)


River Description

LOWER McCLOUD RIVER


Neil Nikirk trip report:

This was a 3 boat trip, Scott and Mike in kayaks and me in the 13 foot cat. We met at the takeout about 11:00 on Saturday, swapped gear and headed for the put-in (2 hours away). Flow at the bottom was probably around 800 cfs. We planned on putting in at Ah-Di-Na Campground, but the road was blocked by a few leftover snow drifts, so we put in upstream at Ash Camp. This is at least two miles above Ah-Di-Na. Mike (the McCloud veteran from a run 15 years ago) had never done this section. Flow at the put-in was probably around 300 and the river was full of boulders. Amphitheater Rapid

Under the Log Thank goodness a good sized creek was just downstream adding to the flow! This section down to Ah-Di-Na was reported to have 6-7 good drops, mostly Class IV, one portageable Class V and a bunch of Class III. That’s a pretty good report for this first 2 ½ miles. We portaged one big drop (amphitheater) with no clear route, at least for my cat. We also had to duck under one log and run a chute under another one in a Class IV rapid.

 

 

Below Ah-Di-Na, the river is mostly class II –III boulder gardens with long, slow pools between. Lots of rowing exercise, we were pretty tired when we made it to Claiborne Creek where we could camp on the small piece of public land. Creeks pour in all along, so we probably had 500-600 cfs at this point. This was probably the least interesting stretch on the river and I hoped it wouldn’t continue the next day.

The next day starts off with McCloud Swim Team a relatively easy Class IV boulder garden and narrow drop at the bottom. Nobody joined the club today! Some interesting rapids downstream including one with a tight chute that curved left (hard left). Just barely wide enough for the cat (6 feet) and almost a flip. More Class IV rapids await downstream like Werner’s Profit and Double Drop. The kayakers portaged at least part of Double Drop, but I ran it clean over the fan rock on the left. Fun rapid! More class III and then Tuna Falls. A nasty looking entry drop/hole and then a big undercut rock at the bottom. The right side of the rock would be OK for kayaks at this level, but too tight for the cat. We all opted to portage. The kayaks to below the last drop; I put in after the entry and ran the left route on the final drop around the undercut rock. If you were swimming in front of the rock – DEATH.     

 Valhalla, aka The Reagan Years

About a mile downstream of Tuna Falls is the last big rapid Valhalla (aka The Reagan Years), Class IV+ with a diagonal move to avoid a BIG fan rock left of center. Great photo op! The rapids ease below this one to Class II and III. One Class III boulder garden has a nice looking center chute over about a 4 foot drop. Scott gave it a try, got stern squirted and sucked back into the heavy reversal. He ended up swimming and the kayak stayed maybe 5 minutes before coming out on its own. Thank goodness the boat came out, that’s where the shuttle car keys were! The scenery below Tuna Falls is great as the river cuts some mini-gorges through slick limestone and the riparian corridor has many oak trees mixed with the firs and a few cedars. Pretty soon we were at the take out on Shasta Reservoir.

 

Neil Nikirk, 2009

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Camping near Claiborne creek:

Ron Rodgers reported on Boof.com 

"A large parcel of USFS public land is crossed by the river at Claiborne Creek. It is easily found because the camping spot is approximately 200-250 yards below the vehicle bridge at the McCloud River Club's private compound. Claiborne Creek, a sizable tributary approx 30 feet wide, comes in on river left. Pull into the mouth and take the short path up to the grassy bench.  (On the right as you face up the creek.) You will find a well-worn foot path above the camp on public land, constructed by MRC connecting their land on either side of the public land. They also have a little foot bridge over Claiborne Cr, probably on USFS. The upstream (along McCloud) boundary of public land is just on the other side of Claiborne. MRC's full-time caretaker will come visit you. Be polite but firm in your knowledge that this is your public land that you are camping on. Bid him a nice day, and ask if he could spare some extra G&Ts. ;-)~

The river right side of the McCloud holds the brass cap, surveyed, corner monument of the USFS land and there is a sizable triangle-shaped portion of the public land over there. The scribing on the cap shows the approximate (very close) orientation of the two diverging boundary lines extending away from the corner cap and crossing the river. I recommend that you DO NOT CAMP ON RIVER RIGHT of the McCloud at this location. An MRC "No Trespassing" sign is posted about 100 feet on the USFS side of the property line. This large flat is easily accessible by MRC vehicles from their nearby road and any extended boater visit could become unnecessarily contentious, imho. There may be more on this matter later."
----------------------------------------

Fishing Clubs:  The McCloud River Club and the Bollibokka Fishing Club, are exclusive private clubs that between them own about 14 miles of riverfront property along the McCloud from Shasta up to the Nature Conservancy property near Ah-Di-Na.

Bollibokka Fishing Club was founded in 1904 by the Hills family who owned Hills Brothers Coffee.  There were said to be 33 members of the club.   In 2007, the property was sold by the Hills family to Westlands Water District  (Fresno County) for $35 million.   Westlands bought the property to eliminate possible club resistance to the raising of Shasta Dam.    It is also reported that Westlands has sold some of the property to a developer.   Bollibokka Fishing Club is now managed by The Fly Shop in Redding and memberships are open to the public. 

 

Other Information Sources:
http://cacreeks.com/mccloud.htm
www.awetstate.com/McCloudA.html Ash Camp
www.awetstate.com/McCloudL.html Ah-di-na Camp
Trip Report by Darin Mcquoid
The Nature Conservancy: McCloud River Preserve
Bollibolka Club Purchased by Westlands Water District - Redding.com
Bollibokka Fly Fishing Club - The Fly Shop
Relicensing the McCloud - Redding.com

A GUIDE TO THE BEST WHITEWATER IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, HOLBEK & STANLEY, 1988
Squaw Valley Creek  Excellent whitewater run on this tributary creek.  

 

FERC information: 
Lake McCloud is part of the PG&E McCloud-Pit River Project.   The current Project license expires July 31, 2011.   
ISR_Part 11_Rec_Cultural.pdf contains initial study information about this river reach.
Gravel augmentation Plan.pdf  up for discussion on October 21 and 22 of 2009
Minimum Instream Flow Plan.pdf 

CalTrout Proposed Alternative pdf

 

 


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-06-06 16:54:00

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.1Ash CampPutin Access
1.8AmphitheaterIV+Portage Photo
3.5Ah Di Na CampgroundAccess
11.9Claiborne Creek CampsitePhoto
12.2McCloud Swim ClubIV
13.7Squaw Valley CreekN/A
15.2Double Drop FallsIVPhoto
18.1Tuna Creek FallsIV+Photo
18.2Valhalla FallsIVPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Ash Camp

This is a good put in if the water is high enough and you want to run the hardest rapids of the whole run.  There are about 6 steep class 4 rapids between Ash Camp and Ah-Di-Na.

Between the dam and Ash Camp the river is mostly class 2 -3.

 



Amphitheater (Class IV+, Mile 1.8)

Amphitheater Rapid

Amphitheater Rapid
Photo of Amphitheater Rapid by Neil Nikirk taken 04/11/09 @ 800 cfs at Shasta Re

Amphitheater,  Class V-.  This is the first major rapid below Ash Camp, and might be described as a “rock pile” just upstream of a curving river right wall that inspires the rapid’s name.  The rapid requires an in-channel portage around the steepest, boulder-choked section at low flows, but is run at higher flows on the left.



Claiborne Creek Campsite

Camp at Claiborne Creek

Camp at Claiborne Creek
Photo of Camp by Neil Nikirk taken 04/12/09 @ 800 cfs at Shasta Re

There is public land at the confluence with this creek where it is legal to camp.

Pass under a bridge at the McCloud Club, then about 200 yards downstream pull into the creek mouth on river left.  The camping area is on the downstream side of the creek, up on a level bench.



McCloud Swim Club (Class IV, Mile 12.2)

McCloud Swim Club, Class IV, at RM  11.7 to 11.9.  This rapid has a long complex boulder garden at the top (most boaters ran a right channel route), followed by a steep drop with a strong hydraulic. –



Squaw Valley Creek (Class N/A, Mile 13.7)
Squaw Valley Creek

comes in from river right and can add a big boost in flow during the rainy season.  This creek is an excellent class 3-4 run in its own right. 




Double Drop Falls (Class IV, Mile 15.2)

Double Drop Lower McCloud

Double Drop Lower McCloud
Photo of Bo Shelby by Jim Pepin taken 05/09/08 @ 800 cfs

Double Drop Falls; also known as Double Falls and Blizzard*, is a Class IV rapid. The rapid has two steeper drops along its length, hence the name.   The first falls has a strong river-wide hydraulic, which appears more retentive at medium-low flows.



Tuna Creek Falls (Class IV+, Mile 18.1)

Tuna Creek Falls

Tuna Creek Falls
Photo by Dave Steindorf taken 05/11/08 @ 1000 cfs

Tuna Creek Falls, Class IV+.  This rapid has a steep drop and hydraulic at the top, then a twisting left channel that wraps around a house-sized rock.  At lower flows, many boaters portage the top drop.



Valhalla Falls (Class IV, Mile 18.2)

Valhalla Rapid

Valhalla Rapid
Photo of Mike Q in Valhalla Rapid by Neil Nikirk taken 04/12/09 @ 800 cfs at Shasta Re

Valhalla Falls, is also known as Thunderhead. Class IV.  This rapid is a steep constricted chute with some boulders in the left channel that create challenging hydraulics at medium-low flows. 




User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 15 2011 (2111 days ago)
Paul MartzenDetails
On June 10, 2011, PG&E reported Based on the current snowpack condition, increasing air
temperature, and increasing inflow conditions into McCloud Reservoir, PG&E anticipates that the
spill magnitude at McCloud Dam will continue to increase steadily over the next several days, and
possibly weeks depending on the long term weather trend.
May 20 2009 (2868 days ago)
x (1)
Disagree a bit with your estimation. The key to this run is getting it when the dam is spilling or
the diversion is shut off. I got on this run 3 times in 08; once in may when the flow at Shasta was
1,300cfs (scheduled release) and twice in sept. (PG&E maint) at apprx 900cfs. and the rapids flew
by esp. at the top, covered the 1st ten miles in less then 2 hours (class 3+ boulder gardens) the
middle 6 miles in 2 hours (class 3+/4 boulder gardens & mini gorges with a couple of holes) and the
last 5 in two and a half (class three boulder gardens with longer pools with one a step up {steeper
boulder garden on a left bend} Good play as well if you dare to bring a play boat. This run needs a
recreatioal release!
April 21 2009 (2897 days ago)
x (1)
Here is a write-up of our recent trip on the lower McCloud at about 850 cfs inflow to Shasta. Two
kayaks and a small cat. Feel free to post up to the river site. Neil Nikirk LOWER McCLOUD RIVER -
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (My apologies to Clint!) The GOOD Lots of nice technical Class IV
drops Plenty of Class III action Beautiful clear water Nice mid-elevation scenery Mini-canyon with
cool rocks Great fishing (I hear) Nobody else on the river Wilderness feel The BAD Logs here and
there Paddle, paddle, paddle across SLOW pools in one section (between Class II rock gardens)
Private land everywhere, one place to camp (legally) Irate landowners (I hear) The UGLY A couple of
Class V's with consequences for a missed move (maybe DEATH!) Killer shuttle (2 hours one way) This
was a 3 boat trip, Scott and Mike in kayaks and me in the 13 foot cat. We met at the takeout about
11:00 on Saturday, swapped gear and headed for the put-in (2 hours away). Flow at the bottom was
probably around 800 cfs. We planned on putting in at Ah-Di-Na Campground, but the road was blocked
by a few leftover snow drifts, so we put in upstream at Ash Creek. This is at least two miles above
Ah-Di-Na. Mike (the McCloud veteran from a run 15 years ago) had never done this section. Flow at
the put-in was probably around 300 and the river was full of boulders. Thank goodness Ash Creek was
just downstream adding to the flow! This section down to Ah-Di-Na was reported to have 6-7 good
drops, mostly Class IV, one portageable Class V and a bunch of Class III. That's a pretty good
report for this first 2 ½ miles. We portaged one big drop with no clear route, at least for my cat.
We also had to duck under one log and run a chute under another one in a Class IV rapid. Below
Ah-Di-Na, the river is mostly class II -III boulder gardens with long, slow pools between. Lots of
rowing exercise, we were pretty tired when we made it to Claiborne Creek where we could camp on the
small piece of public land. Creeks pour in all along, so we probably had 500-600 cfs at this point.
This was probably the least interesting stretch on the river and I hoped it wouldn't continue the
next day. The next day starts off with McCloud Swim Team a relatively easy Class IV boulder garden
and narrow drop at the bottom. Nobody joined the club today! Some interesting rapids downstream
including one with a tight chute that curved left (hard left). Just barely wide enough for the cat
(6 feet) and almost a flip. More Class IV rapids await downstream like Werner's Profit and Double
Drop. The kayakers portaged at least part of Double Drop, but I ran it clean over the fan rock on
the left. Fun rapid! More class III and then Tuna Falls. A nasty looking entry drop/hole and then a
big undercut rock at the bottom. The right side of the rock would be OK for kayaks at this level,
but too tight for the cat. We all opted to portage. The kayaks to below the last drop; I put in
after the entry and ran the left route on the final drop around the undercut rock. If you were
swimming in front of the rock - DEATH. About a mile downstream of Tuna Falls is the last big rapid
Valhalla (aka The Reagan Years), Class IV+ with a diagonal move to avoid a BIG fan rock left of
center. Great photo op! The rapids ease below this one to Class II and III. One Class III boulder
garden has a nice looking center chute over about a 4 foot drop. Scott gave it a try, got stern
squirted and sucked back into the heavy reversal. He ended up swimming and the kayak stayed maybe 5
minutes before coming out on its own. Thank goodness the boat came out, that's where the shuttle
car keys were! The scenery below Tuna Falls is great as the river cuts some mini-gorges through
slick limestone and the riparian corridor has many oak trees mixed with the firs and a few cedars.
Pretty soon we were at the take out on Shasta Reservoir. All things considered, a great trip. Would
I do it again? Maybe… If the shuttle wasn't so long and we could eliminate the flatter water in the
center, and find more places to camp and… This would be a great 1-day run if you could get
permission to launch at the McCloud Club at Claiborne Creek. Wonder if we should inquire? Rumor has
it, the owners are none to friendly towards boaters. But if cash was involved for access and
shuttle? Who knows? This is definitely a river for small boats; kayaks and IKs would be great, as
would 10-12 foot paddle rafts. My 13 foot cat was about as large a boat as you could reasonably
expect to get down on 800 cfs into the lake. This boat is set up narrow at just under 6 feet wide
and some of the must run slots were just a bit narrower!


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Associated Projects

  • McCloud (CA)
    American Whitewater has been involved with the FERC relicensing process for the McCloud River below McCloud Dam since 2006.