South Skunk, Iowa, US
|Usual Difficulty||II (varies with level)|
|South Skunk River near Ames, IA|
|usgs-05470000||100 - 1000 cfs||II||82h42m||294 cfs (running)|
|Good flows for play. Gauge (315 sq.mi. drainage) is on this stretch of river, so should be quite accurate at reflecting conditions for these playspots.|
Rocky ledge/dams in a series of locations on this stream provide some whitewater opportunities. They can be linked in runs of various lengths (using various access points), but may almost as likely be done separately as a 'park-and-play' opportunities for whitewater boaters intent on maximizing play.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|15.6||Hannum/Coon's dam, and Gauge||N/A|
|19.0||Ames (River Valley Park) Dam||N/A|
An old dam (adjacent to Story City Park and the athletic fields for the high school) was removed and replaced with 'rock-arch' structures in the river, creating three discrete drops (with eddies each side of each drop) and small surfable wave at bottom.
Somewhere in the 700-800 cfs range, the river becomes pushy enough that the three drops tend to merge. Strong paddlers will still find play, but beginners may be challenged.
Parking is convenient, and a short carry gets you to the river.
Photos of this location are available on the Iowa Whitewater Org - Story City
A couple of areas of rocky/ledge-y play exist in Soper's Mill County Park, separated by a short stretch of flatwater.
Hannum/Coon's dam (in a state of deterioration) is the site of at least two drownings.
This should not be considered a play spot and any recirculating current should be avoided. If needed it is best portaged on river right.
(The property in this area appears to be all privately held.) This is the location of the gauge cited for this river.
Photo and info available at Iowa Whitewater Org US Filter Dam.
Paddlers should portage river right above the dam in Ames' River Valley Park.
There is great parking and a short carry to put in or take-out at this location.
Photo and info available at Iowa Whitewater Org - Ames Dam.