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Difficulty I-II
Length 21.2 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range N/A
Flow Rate as of: 1 second ago N/A
Reach Info Last Updated 03/03/2018 1:53 pm

River Description

Above Cedar and NT Rapids the river is more intimate thus single-tree deadfalls and major “tanglewood” blockages are more likely.  There are 13 sets of mostly low-gradient, rocky rapids (I-II) above NT Rapids (6 of 13 from MacArthur Pine to Hwy 139, 5 of 13 from New 139 to Twin River Rd, and 5 of 13 (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 river-wide deadfalls makes for an increasing level of risk or struggle the farther upriver one starts.  Shuttle distances are not prohibitively 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 drops (of 8) in Holmes Rapids that requires a short but snarly drag-around on the right.  The reward of this section is always NT Rapids.

Hwy 139 to Twin River Rd. is 7.1 miles of river and a shuttle distance of 5.1 miles.  Half of the length of river in this stretch is through marshland.  There is a massive tanglewood 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.  There is much potential for seriously dangerous 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 the current Hwy 139 the river becomes braided and rocky, as it goes through a dense alder thicket that is not worth trying.  End the trip in the town of Popple River at Old Hwy 139 or portage downriver to Hwy 139.


Rapid Descriptions

Drainage area: ~36.8 sq.mi.

Class - N/A Mile - 0
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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
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Earlier guides mention Railroad Rapids downriver from Old Hwy 139 but my experience is that from Old 139 to the old railway bridge (now rails to trails) is a long tangle of alders that requires more dragging of your boat than floating. I would recommend taking out at Old 139 and continueing from the Putin near Hwy 139

Start of barely penetrable Alder thicket

Class - N/A Mile - 4.53
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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
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Landing (on left just after Hwy 139)

Class - N/A Mile - 6.96
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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
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162 feet long

Camp Dock Rapids

Class - II Mile - 12.32
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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
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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


Summary of Gauge Readings

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Gauge NameReadingTimeComment

No Gage


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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