Difficulty I-II
Length 21.2 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range N/A
Reach Info Last Updated 04/17/2019 10:02 pm

River Description


Above Cedar and NT Rapids the river is intimate, thus blockages are likely. There are 13 sets of low-gradient, rocky rapids (I-II) above NT Rapids: six from MacArthur Pine to Hwy 139, five from New 139 to Twin River Rd, and five (plus NT Rapids) from Twin River Rd. to Newald Tower Rd). Between rapids the river is generally deep and floatable.

Whitewater adventures are available with higher flows (probably over 3-400 cfs measured at the USGS station 25 miles downriver) but the remoteness, narrowness, and the tendency for deadfalls increasing the level of risk or struggle the further upriver one starts.  Shuttle distances are not long and gravel roads are usually acceptable for a bike-back option.

Twin River Rd to Newald Tower Rd is 5.8 miles of river and a shuttle distance of 6.7 miles. For several years there has been a growing obstruction (between the 4th and 5th of eight drops in Holmes Rapids) that requires a short, snarly drag-around on the right. The reward of this section is NT Rapids.

Hwy 139 to Twin River Rd. is 7.1 miles of river with a shuttle distance of 5.1 miles. Half of this stretch is through marshland. There is a massive obstruction in the middle of McDougal Rapids that requires a 1,800 foot (river-left) portage, mostly through upland forests.

MacArthur Pine Rd. to Hwy 139 is 4.6 to 7.0 miles of river and a shuttle distance of 10-11 miles depending on where you take out. Expect strainers, down trees and challenging rapids. Ratings on the unnamed rapids are only a guess of what they might rate with adequate flows. This stretch has a massive beaver dam and a couple of smaller ones. Between Old 139 and (new) Hwy.139, the river becomes braided and rocky, as it goes through a dense alder thicket that is seriously not worth trying. End the trip in the town of Popple River at Old Hwy 139 or expect to portage down to Hwy 139.

Rapid Descriptions

Drainage area: ~36.8 sq.mi.

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

At the uppermost listed put-in, drainage area (as calculated by USGS StreamStats 4.0 beta software) is 36.8 square miles. This is roughly 1/4 the drainage at the gauge (Popple River, near Fence), thus flows here could be roughly 1/4th the gauge reading. Expect the gauge to lag flows up here on both rise and fall.

Unnamed Rapids 1

Class - I Mile - 0.18
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

480 feet long

Unnamed Rapids 2

Class - II Mile - 0.35
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

1,250 feet long

Unnamed Rapids 3

Class - II Mile - 1.02

1/2 mile long

Very Large Beaver Dam

Class - N/A Mile - 2.67
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Unnamed Rapids 4

Class - II Mile - 3.05
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

711 feet long

Unnamed Rapids 5

Class - II Mile - 4.18
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

420 feet long

Unnamed Rapids 6

Class - II+ Mile - 4.33

698 feet long

Old Hwy 139 (Recommended Takeout!)

Class - N/A Mile - 4.49
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Earlier guides mention Railroad Rapids downriver from Old Hwy 139. From Old 139 to the old railway bridge (now rails to trails) is nearly 1.25 mile long tangle of alders that requires more dragging than floating. Minimize the hassle by taking out at Old 139 and continuing from a Putin near Hwy 139.

Start of barely penetrable Alder thicket

Class - N/A Mile - 4.53
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Hard going, with much dragging of your boat continues for much of the next 1.23 miles. No rapids exist between the end of the alder thicket and the Hwy 139 putin.

Hwy 139 Bridge

Class - N/A Mile - 6.93
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Landing (on left just after Hwy 139)

Class - N/A Mile - 6.96
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The parking lot for the landing is not directly off of Hwy 139 .  It is off of National Forest Rd 2161, 130 feet east of Hwy 139.  To get to this landing take the trail for 180 feet out of the back of the parking lot towards the river.  

Castor Rapids

Class - I Mile - 11.52
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

162 feet long

Camp Dock Rapids

Class - II Mile - 12.32
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

248 feet long.      A long-hike(2.3 miles), emergency exit could be made from the camp dock (45.761476, -88.642352  on right after this rapids.  The trail leads to a camp then then another camp then to Jaquet Rd. and Forest Rd 2162. Turn right on 2162 and keep walking to town of Newald if necessary. 

Deerhead Rapids

Class - II Mile - 12.74
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

300 feet long

McDougal Rapids

Class - II+ Mile - 12.91

Rapids are 1,963 feet long.  There is at least one major log pile requiring a 1,800 foot portage (on left) without trail, mostly through upland forest  

Permanent Log Pile in McDougal Rapids

Class - N/A Mile - 13.01

Twin Rivers Rd. Landing

Class - N/A Mile - 14.89
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Burnt Dam Rapids

Class - II Mile - 15.45

Rapids are a long, tight stretch (2,138 feet) of 8 separate rocky runs.  Between the 4th and 5th run the river has been blocked by deadfalls for several years.  Portage around the blockage is on the right, without trail, and is wading, and picking your way through a slightly flowing swamp/rocky land area.   

Log Pile Across Burnt Dam Rapids

Class - N/A Mile - 15.69

Carry around is a no-trail, 50-foot bushwhack on right 

Old Podunk Dam Site

Class - N/A Mile - 17.41

At high water swifts or rapids may delvelop here in constrictions left by leftover embankments from the dam (actually the embankment is an esker from the last glacier)

Suspension Bridge, Big Horn Hunting Club

Class - N/A Mile - 19.4

Above and below this bridge, the river is prone to deadfalls of large Silver Maple Trees which may block passage at some flows but the current is generally not swift

Cedar Rapids

Class - II Mile - 20.67

332 feet long

NT Rapids

Class - II Mile - 21

1,121 feet long. Ends at takeout on right just past NT bridge

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Directions Description


For the Newald Tower Rd. to Twin River Rd section head west on Newald Tower Rd.(FS2159), then right on Newald Rd.(FS2162), then right on Twin River Rd.(FS2398) 

For the Hwy 139 to Twin River Rd. section head north anr around the sharp bend on Twin River Rd.(FS2398), then left on Morgan Lake Rd (FS2161), the parking lot is on the left just before Hwy 139

For the MacArthur Pine Rd. to Old 139 section whether you take the north route or tthe south route the distance is virtually the same (10.25-10.5 miles).  The south route goes through the village of Newald but the road condition may be more challenging in early spring shuttles. For the north route take Old 139, then left on Long Lake Rd (FS2166), then left on MacArthur Pine Rd (FS2167).  For the south route take Old 139 to Hwy 139, then right on Double Bend Rd (FS2166), then right on MacArthur Pine Rd (FS2167).

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