This is a scenic run and a good introduction to Oak Creek Canyon and should be pounced on when elusive water levels are available by boaters with advanced to expert skills. Use a variety of high elevation put-ins for additional mank value.
In this run there are at least four named rapid features with many relatively long wave trains and little drops amongs relatively short pools. This creek has a narrow and braided channel and is woody along its entire length. The potential for strainers and log jams to develop as a result of higher flows and falling trees is ever present. Always scout when in doubt. Private concrete driveways with culverts present lowhead dam and entrapment hazards at a range of flows.
The 80 FPM gradient makes this run an exhilerating hoot for a solid Class III boater at 500 CFS or less. Class IV and V boaters have run this section at over 10,000 CFS with various results. Heavily treed rock and boulder bar pour-overs acting as giant combs await boaters unable to see or make the tight turns into the main channel. When Oak Creek gets over 500 CFS, treat it like a Class IV run and scout frequently.
This run also has plenty of surf potential along the sandstone chutes.
Take out in Sedona at the 179 bridge or go further about five miles downstream on river left to take out at Red Rock Crossing. Use Verde Valley School Rd parking. From the 179 in Village of Oak Creek turn West on Verde Valley School Rd and drive 5 miles to the end of the road. There is a short walk down to the creek. There is also another option to takeout one mile south in Red Rock State Park on river right. off of highway 89A.
For additional information refer to "Paddling Arizona" by Tyler Williams.
Oak Creek flooded big several times in early 2019. We just ran from Indian Gardens to Red Rock Crossing at 400 CFS in large duckies. The stream in the canyon was clear, with the exception of some sweepers to dodge. There was lots of tree carnage out of the low-water channel. Sedona to Red Rock Crossing was mainly clear with one exception: the right channel around Turtle Rock below Poco Diablo resort had a medium-sized alder tree in it, acting as a sweeper. The sieve-like formation still existed on the right. This section could use some maintenance, for sure. Folding saws are a good idea if one wants to help. Interesting residential architecture can be enjoyed all through this run. We did not get out under the 179 bridge by Tlaquepaque because of no river access signs. It is possible to get out on the left just below the bridge with a short, steep trail up to the road. This is a great winter time opportunity in Arizona. Lots of fun and scenery through the canyon above town.
Compound Fracture Rapid, Pick Your Poison Rapid, Grasshopper Falls and rapids, Midgley Slide Rapid. All are amongst no-name II's that go up to IV's with increasing flow levels.
Ran down to page yesterday 450 cfs. I agree that it is Full of growth. had a hard time with the length of my canoe getting through everything. I had one mandatory portage. It really is just a giant tree sieve.
Ran lower sections this week:
3/18/2010: 89B to Page Springs: Boated/hiked first mile and pulled out after being frustrated by overgrowth. Channel choked with small diameter growth. Scouting downstream, seemed to open up with better rapids, but still had lots of blind choked channels. May be more manageable with lower flow. 4.2 on Page Springs gage. ~800 cfs per USGS gage.
3/16/2010: Page Springs to Cornville: Great Class II, open channel, lots of good surf waves. 3.62 on Page Springs gage. ~ 550 cfs per USGS
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oak creek at park
Oak Creek Arizona
near wall rapid
2004 flood at Red Rock crossing
2004 oak Creek flood
Oak Creek at flood
Beautiful Oak Creek ner downtown Sedona
Oak Creek in Sedona-Oak Creek
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In the ongoing saga of hydro dam developments proposed within striking distance of Grand Canyon National Park, American Whitewater is asking for help from the paddling community to stop a development that would impact the greater Grand Canyon area and its tributaries. Back in October 2019, we wrote an article outlining the proposal submitted by Phoenix-based hydroelectric company Pumped Hydro LLC to place two dams on the Little Colorado River, a tributary of the Colorado River’s mighty Grand Canyon. This proposal was met with a large amount of pushback for the cultural impact on indigenous tribes, ecological impacts, and water use. To address these concerns, Pumped Hydro decided to file an alternative (yet equally problematic) proposal for a hydro development on Big Canyon, a tributary of the Little Colorado River. The Big Canyon project permit application has been accepted into the Federal Energy Regulation Commission’s (FERC) registrar, initiating a public comment period on the project ending August 1 and we need members of the paddling community to step up and make their voices heard!
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