The EF Carson is a popular and scenic class 2 stretch, but it is more difficult in two respects than the rating can indicate. The water is very cold, so swims could lead to hypothermia. While the rapids are not difficult, they are non stop in the early miles. The current constantly pushes towards one bank or the other and those banks are undercut cliffs in many areas. Constant manuvering is required to stay in the center of the channel.
People often take two days and camp at hot springs, but one day runs are also feasible.
The run is popular for boaters with whitewater open canoes with float bags.
To reach put-in, drive south on highway 89/4 to Markleeville, and continue about a mile past town to Hangman's Bridge, where there is an outhouse. You can find better put-in spots upstream between the highway and river. Even on Friday nights, campsites are often available at a USFS campground down a dirt road before the bridge. Shuttles are readily available by inquiring at stores in Markleeville.
To reach take-out, drive north to highway 88, turn right, and descend into Nevada. You can take a shortcut by turning right on Centerville Lane, and left across a bridge before Dresslerville, although going all the way to Minden and turning right on highway 395 thru Gardnerville works too. On 395 just past the Lahonton Fish Hatchery, turn right onto a dirt road where the highway starts climbing a hill. The BLM parking lot is uphill at the end of the dirt road. This take out has a reputation for overnight vandalism.
In years past, good shuttle service has been available near Markleeville. Paul and Gloria Washam operate a long-time company, Family Shuttle Service at 530-694-2966. The Markleeville General Store recommends River Rat Shuttle Service at 530-694-2448.
There are toilets at Hangman's Bridge put in, at the take out and one pit toilet about halfway down. Those camping on the river should bring their own toilet systems, though they are not required.
Other Information Sources: Description in Bill Tuthill's California Creekin.
Cassady & Calhoun, Holbek & Stanley, Gerald Meral.
If the main put in is too busy, there is a large access next to the river a bit over a half mile upstream.
There is a convenient ramp down to the river on the downstream river right side of the bridge.
This rapid formed in the winter of 2017. The right side of the island may have the cleaner line, though perhaps also steeper.
The take out is on river right at a wide gravel beach. Carry boats up a steep hill to the large parking area. There are toilet facilities at this location.
Rattlesnake drop no longer looks like above map. It has eroded upstream quite a way on river left. Most people are running channel right of center. scout river left
8 years ago
CDEC Snowplot graphs show this years snow pack in comparison to last years snowpack plus mean, highest and lowest snowpack years. USGS #10308200 provides the data for the graph below. Historical data can also be searched for this gauge. NOAA 5 day flow prediction Dreamflows.com 3 Year plot compares flows for the most recent 3 years.SNOTEL site Monitor Pass Check snowpack, precipitation and other sensors, plus historical data.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Rattlesnake Drop Diagram
Lower East Fork Carson
Hangman Bridge River Access
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