Weber Creek - Placerville to SF American confluence

Weber Creek, California, US


Placerville to SF American confluence

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 12 Miles
Avg. Gradient 104 fpm

River Description


River Description
Weber Creek is often boatable in the wet season during and after heavy rains. It seems to be popular with locals who don't mind dealing with the challenges of low elevation Sierra creeks: trees, portages, logs, bushes, manky rapids, etc. The rewards of overcoming such challenges, are the interesting scenery and many fun rapids.   This run has some fun rapids but isn’t a typical high quality California run. It is low sierra adventure boating -- worth doing if you are in the area or local, but not worth a significant drive.
This creek is a low elevation tributary of the SF American River. It originates to the south east of Placerville and flows into the Gorge of the SF American at Bouncing Rock Rapid.
There are several sections of Weber that can be run by starting and stopping at different road bridges.
Big Cut Road - 1700 feet
Green Valley Road - 1460 feet (Painted Gauge Here – see picture tab)
Lotus Road - 890 feet
Confluence with SF American - 450 feet
Big Cut Road (1700ft)  to Green Valley Road (1460 ft) – IV
Green Valley Road (1460) to Town of Cold Springs (~1200ft) – IV+/V
Character: This is the steepest of the Weber Creek sections. Bedrock rapids interspersed by in stream willows with wood commonly in play. First 3-4 rapids are (IV) with some hazards in the landing zones. Rapids continue to increase in size with a 10-15’ slide, followed by a 20-25’ double drop, followed immediately by a portage (3 tier slide, 50-60’ vertical, main hazard = questionable landing zone.
Flow: Look for 1’ to 3” on the painted gauge on the Green Valley Road bridge (downstream river right)
Hazards: Logs, willows, and poor water quality.  1-2 portages depending on flows and personal comfort with risk
Cold Springs (1200 ft) to Lotus Road (890’) – IV/IV+
Character: Much more consistent gradient and continuous nature and less pool drop compared to the section above. Thus, more willows and danger of wood. There are a few rapids that standout but nothing compared to the section above but most boaters would
Flow: Look for 1’ to 3” on the painted gauge on the Green Valley Road bridge (downstream river right). Flow will likely double or triple from the Green Valley bridge to Lotus bridge.
Hazards: Logs, willows, and increasingly poor water quality. There is a river right tributary where the water quality noticeably degrades.
Lotus Road (890 ft) to Confluence w/ SF American (450 ft) – IV/V
Other Information Sources:
Weber Reservoir is a small diversion reservoir in the upper reaches of the main fork of Weber Creek. Water is sent through a canal to Placerville. The reservoir is owned by El Dorado Irrigation District.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-03-22 00:13:09


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Big Cut RoadN/AAccess
1.4Highway 49 bridgeN/A
2.4Forni RoadN/A
3.0Highway 50 bridgeN/A
4.0Green Valley RoadN/AAccess Photo
6.0Cold Springs RoadN/AAccess
8.0Lotus RoadN/AAccess
12.0SF American ConfluenceN/A

Rapid Descriptions

Big Cut Road (Class N/A)

Elevation is about 1700 feet at this access location. 

Highway 49 bridge (Class N/A, Mile 1.4)

Look out for a small dam near the bridge.   There does not appear to be any public access at this bridge. 

Forni Road (Class N/A, Mile 2.4)

There does not appear to be any public access at this bridge. 

Highway 50 bridge (Class N/A, Mile 3.0)

Some of the biggest rapids of the upper reaches are said to be just downstream of highway 50.  Highway 50 is high above and does not provide any public access to the creek.

Green Valley Road (Class N/A, Mile 4.0)

Green Valley Bridge Guage

Green Valley Bridge Guage
Photo of Green Valley Guage by Chris Tulley taken 03/19/11 @ 2.40 ft

There is a painted gauge on the bridge at this access point.  Runnable levels are generally considered to be from about 1 to 3 feet.  Parking options appear limited and there are "No Trespassing" signs, but it is reported to be a common put in.  Elevation is about 1460 feet. 

Cold Springs Road (Class N/A, Mile 6.0)

Accessing the creek here, requires boat carrying for a little ways.   

Lotus Road (Class N/A, Mile 8.0)

Elevation is about 890 feet.  This is the most common put in for those paddling down to the SF American and the Salmon Falls take out.  

SF American Confluence (Class N/A, Mile 12.0)

The creek enters the river at Bouncing Rock rapid.   Paddle another 2.3 miles down to the take out at Salmon Falls bridge.  Elevation at the confluence is about 450 feet.

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