If you like adventure boating in the highland forest and want to start at Soapstone, going to Pine Valley campground is the easiest to set shuttle for (4.5 miles). 500 cfs on the Provo at Woodland gauge is a suggested minimum. We did this run in 2010, and had a couple close calls with riverwide logs. The wood avoidance is class IV. If there was no wood, this would be a beautiful II-III run. There are beaver dams below the start on the right that you want to stay left of. Expect a half dozen portages. Near Pine Valley there is a lack of eddies that made boat scouting difficult. I don't know anyone who has run from Pine Valley to Woodland (5 miles); supposedly the wood is worse and there is some private land, and the shuttle would be much longer.
The gradient is continuous so the rapids are steady class 2 and 3. Besides massive amounts of downed trees along the run, the river frequently splits into multiple channels. The river is especially braided near the beginning and below the FS Rd 922 take out. In the middle of the run, the river is mostly constrained to one channel.
Scenery in the area is very nice.
Getting There: This section of the Provo runs next to Highway 150. It is a bit over an hour away from either the Salt Lake City area or the Orem area.
Put In: There is a large turnout with convenient river access at the junction of Soapstone Basin Road and Highway 150. There appear to be other put in options upstream and downstream. Elevation at put in is about 7753 feet above sea level.
Take Out: There appears to be easy river access on a right hand channel, at Lower Provo River Campground. However, the parking or fee situation is unclear. This area may also be closed by snow during the best flow period. This is the location marked on our map. The elevation here is about 7380 feet.
FS Rd 922 is just upstream of the junction of the NF Provo River and leads to a large parking area close to the river. This provides an alternate take out. One advantage of this take out, is that it avoids a heavily braided area between here and the campground. Elevation here is about 7500 feet.
Wood Hazards: This section is noted for having lots of trees, logs and logjams in the river. Logs will often move from year to year and even from week to week during high flows. The satellite view on the map tab provides sufficient close up views to see how many logs can typically block this section. Be ready to pull over and portage at any time.
A typical downed tree that blocks most of the channel. Expect many of these. Also expect many such trees that completely block the channel and must be portaged
Another downed tree that boaters were able to go under. This tree will inevitably drop lower and block the channel, forcing a desperate eddy out and a portage. There are many other trees like this one and many that completely block the channel.
This was a particularly hazardous spot in May 2014. It may not be there now, but another tree may be in a worse location. Be careful! This strainer is not visible from water level. It looks like you can go under the large tree, but the submerged tree drives you right into a wedge/pin spot. Flows about 600cfs.
FS Road 922 leads to this large parking area close to the river. It is just upstream of the NF Provo. This location is usable even when the campgrounds are still closed or blocked by snow. Also the river gets very braided again with numerous channels between here and the campground.
This campground is about 3/4 mile off Highway 150. It may be closed in early season or when there is still snow. The river is braided in this area and the take out is on a right hand channel. Scout it beforehand carefully.
This is the last take out accessible from highway 150. Boating further requires a long shuttle out to Kamas and then south to Woodland and Highway 35.
My son and I ran it on 5/3/2014 at about 600cfs. We portaged downed trees at least 5-7 times, and snuck several others. Would be a fun calss II-III run except for all the wood. At higher flows you might get pushed into areas you don't want to be due to lack of eddies and blind corners. There was at least one drop with wood in it that was impossible to see from river level and could be a bad pin spot. This pin spot was upstream ~ 1.5 mile of takeout at Lower Provo River Campground. High flows will rearrange the wood in this river every year.
I guess this section description needs an update. Jordanelle Reservior now exists between Soapstone and Deer Creek Res. Above Jordanelle it's Class III/IV- woody meanders; below, it's Class II+ woody meanders.
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Typical view of downed tree on upper Provo
More wood on upper Provo
Strainer on upper Provo
Typical tree on upper Provo
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