Salmon - 7 - Vinegar Creek to Riggins

Salmon, Idaho, US


7 - Vinegar Creek to Riggins

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 28 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-13317000 1000 - unknown cfs III-IV 00h49m 4140 cfs (running)

River Description

This is a wonderful section of river immediately downstream of the more well-known Main Salmon which is the classic multiday trip. This river segment flows for 28 miles among pine forests and granite walls with the Salmon River Road (Forest Road 1614) paralleling the river. It provides great opportunities for day trips with easy logistics and good camping and no permits are required.

While the high flows of spring can create hazardous conditions (experts only), mid-summer brings more moderate flows and classic pool-drop rapids with good flatwater recovery sections in between. Some nice beaches provide places to hang out for lunch or engage in water play.

Commercial trips are avaialble for those interested in a day trip (check with outfitters in Riggins).

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-07-08 22:51:41

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-111.9Vinegar Creek RapidIII+
-110.2Carey Falls (aka Gold Hole)II+
-109.8Carey Creek Boat RampN/AAccess
-106.1House Rock (aka Block Rock)N/A
-97.8Kelly Creek RapidsII
-97.6Van Creek RapidsII
-96.9Spring BarN/AAccess
-94.1Ruby RapidsIII+
-93.0Lake Creek RapidsIII+
-92.1Cat's PawII
-87.8Shorts BarN/AAccess

Rapid Descriptions

Vinegar Creek Rapid (Class III+, Mile -111.9)

During higher flows this rapid is washed out. During lower flows numerous holes and rocks appear.

Carey Falls (aka Gold Hole) (Class II+, Mile -110.2)

This rapid has a popular hole for kayakers.

Carey Creek Boat Ramp (Class N/A, Mile -109.8)

This access is an popular alternative take-out for the Main Salmon.

House Rock (aka Block Rock) (Class N/A, Mile -106.1)

A mid-river rock that creates a hidden hole at flows above 30,000 cfs.

Kelly Creek Rapids (Class II, Mile -97.8)

This rapid gets bigger at lower flows.

Van Creek Rapids (Class II, Mile -97.6)

Class II rapid near Van Creek Camgpround that is a small camping area with toilet facilities.

Spring Bar (Class N/A, Mile -96.9)

Forest service campground with water, toilets, and boat ramp.

Ruby Rapids (Class III+, Mile -94.1)

Large irregular waves at high water.

Lake Creek Rapids (Class III+, Mile -93.0)

Easily recognized by the large yellow bridge over the river just below the rapid. There is a large rock on the top left side of the rapid. At flows above 60,000 cfs this rock creates a large wave called the "Big Easy" or "Haystack." At flows below 20,000 cfs, the wave disappears and a large hole forms.

Cat's Paw (Class II, Mile -92.1)

This short wave train is a popular location for kayakers at lower flows.

Shorts Bar (Class N/A, Mile -87.8)

Shorts Bar is a BLM recreation site with toilets, boat ramp, and camp sites. The large beach is popular for day use.

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