Squaw Valley Creek, California, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV(V) (for normal flows)|
|Squaw Valley Creek above McCloud confluence|
|virtual-50649||400 - 1000 cfs||IV(V)||01h23m||113.4 cfs (too low)|
|MCCLOUD RIVER ABOVE SHASTA LAKE|
|cdec-MSS||800 - 2400 cfs||IV(V)||01h51m||409 cfs (too low)|
Squaw Valley Creek is an excellent rainy season creek, with the added bonus of getting the last 10 miles of the Lower McCloud River. The combined distance of 20 miles can make for a very long day. For the most part the creek is reported to be pretty continuous class 2 and 3 rapids. However, there are two significant waterfalls in the first few miles. At mile six, is a scenic gorge with about 6 class 4 rapids. Other solid class 3 and 4 rapids are scattered throughout the run. On a small creek like this, logs, log jams or brush could always cause problems. Once boaters reach the McCloud, they will face 3 big class 4 rapids along with numerous smaller rapids and a big increase in the flow. What more could you want?
The first 5 miles of the creek below the trailhead are within the Shasta-Trinity National Forrest. A trail follows the creek for this distance. At Bear Trap Creek confluence, Squaw Valley Creek enters private property, (McCloud River Club?) There is no further public property along this creek or the McCloud River till the take out at Gillman Road on Lake Shasta. A private road follows Squaw Valley Creek from Bear Trap Creek to the confluence with the McCloud. If you need to stop in the private property zone, stay within the high water marks, unless forced to scout or portage
Put in: Cabin Creek trailhead at the end of Squaw Valley Creek Road. From I-5 take highway 89 to the town of McCloud. In McCloud turn south on Squaw Valley road towards Lake McCloud for 6 miles. As the road starts to leave Squaw Valley, turn right onto the dirt road leading to the Cabin Creek Trail. The last 3 miles to the trailhead are dirt road. Depending on road and snow conditions, you may have to park further upstream and carry to this point or possibly boat to this point.
Take out: Gillman Road bridge over the McCloud arm of Lake Shasta. Looks to be a long and winding drive to here from I-5, either via Gillman Road or Fenders Ferry Road.
Other Information Sources:
Darin McQuoid Photography
Rapid Magazine Early Summer - 2010 Edition, page 28.
Squaw Valley Creek Trail - Mt Shasta Trail Association
Squaw Valley Creek Trail - Wildflowers
Squaw Valley Creek Trail map pdf
Shasta-Trinity National Forrest McCloud office - (530) 964-2184
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|2.5||15 foot Waterfall||IV+|
|3.0||8 Foot Ledge||IV|
|6.0||Tom Neal Creek & Class 4 Gorge||IV+|
|12.0||Confluence with McCloud River||N/A|
There is a good scouting view of this waterfall on river left. You can also portage left over the rocks and down a crack to the pool. The waterfall has been run on river right.
You can scout this waterfall on the left and also run it down the left. A portage route is on river right.
Beartrap creek marks the end of public property and the end of the public trail. Squaw Valley Creek runs through private property from here down and a private road follows the creek to the McCloud confluence. Stay within the high water mark unless forced to scout or portage.
Tom Neal Creek comes in from the right just after a road bridge. This is a major tributary. It has been reported to contribute from 1/3 the flow up to equal the flow of the main creek. It probably contributes a lower percentage late in the season and more during the winter.
Within a couple hundred yards after Tom Neal Creek, get ready for the gorge. After you run the first class 4, eddy out right just above the next drop. You can scout all 5 remaining drops in the gorge by climbing up the hillside 20' and following the faint trail. You could portage all the drops in the gorge on this same trail as well.
For descriptions of the rapids on the McCloud below this point, see the Lower McCloud page. The major rapids on the McCloud below the Squaw Valley Creek confluence are:
Double Drop Falls
Tuna Creek Falls
The land in this area is all private property, so stay within the high water marks, unless forced to scout or portage.