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Difficulty II(III)
Length 18 Miles
Flow Range 500 - 5000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 38 minutes ago 23.9 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/10/2014 5:38 am

River Description

The usual objection to paddling Cache Creek are the hordes of Kamakazee Komercial Kayakers. The Wilderness run pretty much eliminates this problem since 'the commercials' don't use that part of the river. They do use the last four miles of the wilderness run but by the time you get there, they will have most likely gone. In any case, we often do not see another person until the last two miles.

The run is very pretty if you like semi-arid mixed chaparral interesting geology kind of views (I do). We have seen Bald eagles, otters, deer swimming the river, osprey, quail, elk, herons, and wild turkey.

The big danger on this run is with trees in the water. Since this is a dam controlled stream, the water seldom gets high enough to clear the obstructions. There are several nasty spots where the less experienced members should consider walking. There are two of these in sharp right-hand bends.

There are some pretty good play spots as well. There are spots to surf, ender, cartwheel, and splat.

The shuttle takes an hour or so round-trip.

Here is the link to Bill Tuthill's California Creekin Website description of the Rumsey Run. This includes the section below this run.

Here are aerial photos of some of the rapids -- Note - you may be required to register to see these photos - It is a quick and simple process, and, as far as I can tell, it is without strings --:

This is the first of the ugly sweepers
Twist and Shout
Mad Mike Rapid
County Line Rapid


Other information sources: California Creekin - Cache Creek.
BRT Insights: Cache Creek guide
Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District

Cache Creek Natural Area, Ukiah Field Office, BLM

Cache Creek Conservancy


Rapid Descriptions


Class - Mile - 0
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Put in at the BLM parking lot where state Highway 20 crosses the North Fork of Cache Creek. Easy access - Note that the North Fork will be very small compared to Cache Creek. There are also significant issues with sweepers and debris in the streambed on this two mile section down to the confluence. We punctured a raft tube here one time on an old trailer axel.

Confluence with Cache Creek

Class - Mile - 2
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The north fork merges with the main branch of Cache Creek that comes out of Clear Lake after 2 miles. Be sure to note the contrast between the cold clear water of the North Fork (from Snow Mountain via Indian Valley Reservoir) and the warm, smelly, brown water from "Clear" Lake.

Ugly Sweeper

Class - Mile - 4
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At about Mile 4 - distance is approximate. It is in a sharp Right Hand turn.

Twist and Shout

Class - II+ Mile - 8
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Distance approximate - Fun rapid - Left hand turn and drop around large rock. At end of long boulder garden.

Mad Mike

Class - III Mile - 17
This is usually the toughest rapid on the run. It is almost within sight of the take out in a sharp "S" turn that starts to the left and then goes back to the right. There is a significant turning drop that flows into a rock/hole (depending on the flow). Scout or portage right.

Rusty Truck

Class - Mile - 18
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This is a possible take out. It is at the confluence with Bear Creek and it is where you will see Highway 16 and Civilization for the first time in a while. There was an old dump truck abandoned here for many years. It was removed in 2002.

County Line

Class - III Mile - 18.5
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This is a good Reason to continue beyond the Rusty Truck take out. There is a II called "Up Against the Wall" directly below the Bear Creek Put-in/Take-Out. The next rapid is right on the county line and has a large drop that inevetibly takes you through a hole and shoves you into rocks on river right as there is a 90 degree turn to the left at the bottom of the drop. Fun stuff.

Yolo County - Upper Site

Class - Mile - 18.8
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This is often a better take out. It will cost $3 if you leave a car here but you can get very close to the water.

Yolo County - Middle Site

Class - Mile - 20
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

This is another take out. This is the public campground. It has a nice II+ rapid right below the camp and a great play spot. You can drive to within 100 feet of the river.


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Zak Lieby
2 years ago

The low water bridge was condemned and the road to buck island has been closed for 4 or 5 years. There are no commercial trips on the wilderness run anymore which makes the privacy even better!

Gage Descriptions

This run starts on the North Fork of Cache Creek before it meets the main creek in about 2 miles.  Flow in the NF will come from release from Indian Valley Reservoir and from feeder streams below Indian Valley Dam.  At two miles, additional flows will come from Clear Lake.

Cache Creek at Rumsey.

For more information, check: Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District  to get the releases from Indian Valley and Clear Lake. Their phone number is (530) 662-0266.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2002-06-15 n/a Fatality Other Read More



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Last Chance! National Monuments Review Comments

Thomas O'Keefe

Take action today using our easy online form to protect National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act! A public comment period began on May 12th and ends July 10th for an April 26th Executive Order which directed Interior Secretary Zinke to conduct a review of all Presidential designations over the past 21 years. A number of Monuments being reviewed are of significant interest to paddlers and provide protections for cherished whitewater stretches, including Bears Ears (Lower San Juan River, UT), Grand Canyon-Parashant (Colorado River, Grand Canyon, AZ), Giant Sequoia National Monument (Tule River, CA), Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (East Branch of the Penobscot River, ME), Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (Rio Grande, Taos Boxes, NM) and many more.


Paul Martzen


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1189952 04/17/09 Paul Martzen n/a
1203896 12/10/14 Paul Martzen updated gauges