Trip Report From Lisa Williams April, 2011
We ran Antelope Creek near Red Bluff as a 2-day run. This was my first time running it and it was really my first run of the season and in a brand-new boat. So, I was a little nervous. I would call Antelope Creek a Class II-III with about 4 Class IVs. A couple of the class IVs are pain-in-the-behind portages. There are 2 mandatory portages around trees anyway - one of which is a river-wide strainer at the bottom of the Powerline Rapid. At my best I would call myself a competent Class IV boater and these Class IVs were definitely manageable. We had about 500cfs on both days. Antelope is small and creeky, so the few named rapids would be akin to a small NF American Chamberlain Falls run or the lower McCloud overnight run. But, the rapids are smaller, shorter, and less cfs. We also portaged the last dam - lots of rocks at the bottom to catch and hold you in the backwash to the dam. Easy portage on the left.We put on the river at 2pm on the first day and found 2 good camps right after Powerline Rapid. Camp Here!! There are no good camps for miles afterwards! We put on the river at 12 noon the next day and were at the take out by 4:30pm. The shuttle from the take-out to the put-in is 4 hours! So be sure and grab some great Mexican Food next to the fairgrounds before you go...I think it is Don Fernandos on the right side of the road as you do into Red Bluff.The roads are good enough although slower going in a low-clearance vehicle (Toyota Tercel). Use Hogsback road on the way to the put-in instead of taking the shortcut that is steeper, and rockier. The difference is only 2 miles and about 5 minutes, but Hogsback is much less wear and tear on your car.You can put in at the Thorton Lee Fischer Campground. We put in 1/2 mile downstream where Ishi Rd crosses the creek and has great access and you miss one Class IV caused by a landslide. Other information sources:California Creeks.
As of Mar 2016:
Great run! Had about 430 on gauge, which was mellow but slightly boney in places. All read and run boat scouting except one blind boof. No portages for wood and no dangerous looking wood in rapids. My first time down but it only took just over 5 hours (solo) with minimal drifting and still time to get out and poke around . High water could be dicey because some of the rapids are very tight and blind. 2 very fun blind maze rapids in that lower gorge, which is where the best scenery is.
Ran into 2 wardens at top and bottom. The one at the top was going to keep me from doing the run "because it's closed". If you run into this same issue you might remind him that the actual closure is everything south of the creek and the 'freedom of navigation' laws (or whatever its called.) We had a friendly chat and he let me go. I found a sign at the closed gate at the bridge which spells out the closure.
The shuttle only takes an hour. If you have a very low clearance car I would take the next right about 2-3 mi. past the road which CaCreeks calls 'Oak Creek Rd' and the 2 roads meet back up in about 5 mi or so. I think this is the shortcut to avoid which Lisa mentioned. (a little confusing b/c both write-ups mention roads not to take)
The cited gauge and Min/max values are for reference. Correlation is not assured. They are based upon Bill Tuthill's recommendation of 400-1200 cfs for rafts and kayaks, which he estimates as 60% of Deer Creek.
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