Putah Creek, California, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II(III) (for normal flows)|
|PUTAH C NR WINTERS CA|
|usgs-11454000||300 - 1600 cfs||I-II(III)||00h45m||389 cfs (running)|
Aaron Rough recommends Putah Creek:
"Lower Putah Creek has... lots of wildlife, lots of cool "creekin" scenery, and several spots for playing etc... Too boot this thing pretty much runs year round! It was only at a flow not runnable (300 cfs and below) for a month or so this year so far..... I just did from the bend (on the map called Strainer Danger) to Lake Solano and it was fantastic! I saw no less than 8 river otters, some of them actually were checking me out and not just swimming off like normal. The waterfowl are in full force but from a cool standpoint. Some cool migratory ducks I haven't ever seen local before, tons of cranes, etc... Coulmn Drop is a true drop right now at this flow and is smooth into a nice wave train. Skin Deep isn't all that shallow and there were some changes in the stream flow but still a clear easy channel to get through. Even this short section was fun and has some fun playspots at ~1600 CFS." I
Ted Tarver does not recommend this creek for kayaking.
"I worked for four years as a ranger at Lake Solano and would warn anyone trying to run Putah Creek that there are three chutes that have trees across them. Earlier in the year I went with a group who wanted to try it after Cache and on the third one a hard shell got trapped after trying to limbo under the third tree, spun sideways and the kayak was trapped in a strainer under the surface. Luckily he pulled his skirt and was able to get out while trapped underwater. I had to climb out on the limb and divert water flow to pop out the kayak. By fishing access three where the the creek splits there is a limb running completely across the creek where it splits on the left channel. Most people would run the right split. While the water is shallow getting pinned there could be fatal in the right conditions and water flows. I would avoid any runs from fishing access 3 4 and 5. The island right above Lake Solano has some mild whitewater to run and you can keep dragging your kayak around and run it. Cache Creek is simply much safer for whitewater and Lake Solano is perfect for flat water kayaking. Oh and going down to the island above Lake Solano, watch out for the rattly snakes who have a den nearby. Lastly if you take your kayak in Putah Creek you will need to clean your gear to make sure you do not transport the New Zealand mud snail to other bodies of water since it was one of the first California waters infected with the mud snail."
Ted Tarver via email@example.com, July 30, 2013
New Zealand Mud Snail: Putah Creek and Lake Solano are infected by this
invasive snail. All boats and gear which contact these waters must be cleaned thoroughly to
prevent the spread of this damaging pest. Boats must be completely dried and cleaned.
Clothing can be frozen to kill these tiny snails. Dept of Fish and Game
Other Information Sources:
Lower Putah is Aaron Rough's website about boating this section.
Lake Solano County Park has a $5 parking fee. There may also be a boat launching fee.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.1||Highway 128 Bridge||N/A|
|0.5||Right side channel||N/A|
On the south side of the Highway 128 bridge is a turn off leading to a large dirt clearing. Trails lead directly to the river or upstream towards the dam.
Swiftwater starts just upstream of the bridge. Below the bridge the creek bends right through a line of trees. Pick an opening between the trees. Then the creek bends left and narrows into a whitewater chute.
Below the bridge and past a line of trees growing across the channel, the creek narrows and forms a whitewater chute. Past the chute, the creek widens into a long stretch of flatwater.
The main channel is on the right side of what may be an island. The channel narrows and swiftwater starts immediately.
Whitewater starts at a smaller island. The right side channel appears to be the better one. Trees loom overhead and may block the channel.
Appears to be a fairly large rapid at a left then right turn.
More trees hang overhead and some may fall underfoot.
After another stretch of wide flat water, the channel narrows into short distance of swiftwater and whitewater. Possible tree hazards at the end.
There is a public parking area with pit toilets and short access trails to the creek.
Best route is not clear
Trees and a bit of whitewater.
The main channel bends sharply right, then gradually left. Swiftwater starts at the right hand bend and continues through the whole left bend. The creek is flat past here to lake Solano.
A left channel appears to be infested with trees, but there is a parking area with river access close by.