Mill Flat Creek - Crabtree (Forest Service Road 12S01) to Kings River


Mill Flat Creek, California, US

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Crabtree (Forest Service Road 12S01) to Kings River

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 150 fpm


River Description

Mill Flat Creek enters the Kings River about halfway down the Banzai! section. During the summer it is a popular lunch stop, because of its swimming holes.

Getting There: From Fresno, take Belmont Avenue east till it turns into Trimmer Springs Road. Stay on Trimmer Springs Road all the way around Pine Flat Reservoir till you come back to the Kings River. Drive across the concrete bridge, but do not cross the steel "Bailey Bridge". Instead turn onto the dirt road and continue upstream on the south side of the Kings River. After about 3.5 miles you will reach Mill Flat Creek and a small campground. Leave a car here or just hike or bicycle the shuttle. The road turns away from the Kings river and follows Mill Flat Creek for 2 more miles. Boaters can hike a short distance upstream from where the road leaves the creek. Further upstream the creek tends to be overly congested with a combination of boulders and brush.

Character: Most of the creek tends to be tight, rocky and with some brush hazards. In the middle of the run is a long pretty section of bedrock slides and ledges. This run is recommended for expert boaters who have paddled some of the other small creeks in the area and just feel like doing a different one.

Elevations:
Put-in: 1400
Take-out: 1090
Total Drop is approximately 300 feet in two miles.

Background: Mill Flat Creek has its highest headwaters at about 7,500 feet elevation in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. Most of the drainage is low elevation so it is unlikely to have high snowmelt flows. Below Grant Grove the creek drops steeply to Sequoia Lake, then down to Mill Flat, from which the creek takes its name.

History: In the 1880's Mill Flat was the site of a large logging operation, sawmill and attendant town. A dam was built to form Sequoia Lake to supply water for a lumber flume. The operation logged Converse Basin, which was the largest grove of Giant Sequoias in the world until all trees but one were cut. The cut lumber was transported in a flume which ran along Mill Flat Creek and then along the Kings River to the town of Sanger. I have heard that much of the wood was used for fences, I wonder if there are any structures still existing that contain any of the lumber from those old giants. Think; trees that took 1,000, 2,000 or more years to grow, were cut down over a period of 10 years and now, only a little over a hundred years later, we may have nothing to show for it.

Paul Martzen, 2006
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2006-03-28 23:21:32

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