Much lower gradient section of river (compared to the Hunting Shack River, which comes into this run virtually at its put-in, and can be done first, continuing down this run), but still appears to have some interesting bits of gradient.
Note: all which follows is from online review of topo maps and aerial photos, and should not be expected to be entirely accurate or complete. Anyone having firsthand awareness (from run or scout of this stretch of river) is encouraged to help out your fellow boaters via the "Add a Comment" button which should appear below for all registered/ logged-in users.
Mileage is being measured from listed put-in, primarily since this section is so likely to be done as continuation of a run on Hunting Cabin River (which comes into the Echo just downstream of our listed put-in. Anyone wishing to do just the Echo River run may prefer to look for a different put-in to cut off much of the nearly four miles of flatwater which starts the run as listed here.
A bit of boulder garden rapids quickly builds into a fine short (just over 0.1 mile) rapids, likely class II, maybe building toward class III.
The prior rapids ends in a brief pool. After the river takes a bend to the right, it narrows and a second rapids is marked on the topo maps. No rocks or features are evident on aerial maps, so it is likely this is gradient with compression waves. (Likely class I-II.)
This sequence starts easy and appears to quickly build. There are no major rocks visible on aerial views, so this is probably compression waves -- likely class II, perhaps building to class III.
For what it's worth, a double-track (dirt road) which appears to parallel the river just off the left shore from the first rapids to here, now veers away from the stream.
More than a mile of flat (though likely flowing well) water follows the prior rapids as the river stays mostly straight and relatively wide open. A sudden buttonhook (right, then left) (or possibly, at high water, a major widening out across a floodplain) will signal the next rapids lies just ahead. It appears to start with easy waves, but as the river bends to the right, encounters a ledge, and passes under a small bridge, the action builds -- looks to be at least class III (possibly pushing near class IV?).
After the crux of this (under the bridge) action eases back to gentle wavetrain for a good stretch downstream.
For what it's worth, the doubletrack coming in from river-left appears to lead out to a private property. It is likely permission would need be sought in order to travel the (non-river) path in or out to this drop.
A tiny side stream (outflow from Knute Lake and two other unnamed lakes (on all maps I find online)) enters from river-right. At times of high flow, it may be worth a side-hike, as it has considerable gradient (dropping at least 50' in only 1/3rd of a mile). Mostly, however, this looks too small and much too tree-encroached to paddle.
On the Echo, low-grade rapids continue for about a quarter-mile. This is a well-forested area, and it appears deadfall is likely to be a strong possibility. Be alert, and ready to catch an eddy to exit river if/where necessary to portage.
As the previous low-grade rapids subside, the river takes a slight left, then a sharp (90-degree) left, then curves back to the right. A pair of large rocks (just right of center) signal the start of a fine (if short) zig-zag rapids. (It appears this may be fairly low-grade, maybe class I-II, though perhaps a bit technical with maneuvering.)
After the bridge, the river does a few quick (flatwater, easy) zig-zags. A private residence on river-right signals the next rapids. This stretch of rapids is about 1/3rd of a mile, and appears to have some likelihood of really good action, especially in the early going. It also appears to have some concern for deadfall, so be alert as you run this, always looking well downstream, ready to catch a micro-eddy to deal with (likely portage) any impassable snags. (Likely class III early, tapering back to class II, but with serious deadfall concerns pushing skill-level required up a notch or two.)
The prior rapids ends in a ponded area just after a clearing where powerlines cross, and a private residence sits river-right. As the river bends to the right out of the pooling, it appears to trip across one final ledge into the final pool (still the Echo River, but at this point essentially a bay of Crane Lake). Depending on river flow and lake elevation, this may provide some play opportunities, or may be completely negligible.
Egress (take-out) may be possible at many points along the next half-mile of river, though some may involve private property (and thereby necessitate obtaining permission). The indicated/listed take-out is at a resort, which may also involve permission, or (at the least) patronizing the establishment (Nelson's Resort).
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Permits are not required for this reach.
Directions given here are slightly incomplete, since best access points may not be readily accessible via roads known to GoogleMaps. We leave it to your investigation to determine best legal access.
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