Kaweah - N. Fork Bridge to Lake Kaweah

Kaweah, California, US


N. Fork Bridge to Lake Kaweah

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 3.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 43 fpm

Lower Holiday

Lower Holiday
Photo by Daniel Lundberg taken 03/30/06 @ 1400 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Kaweah Inflow Terminus Res
dream-102 500 - 4000 cfs III-IV 18d21h46m 110 cfs (too low)

River Description

This is the easiest part of the Kaweah above the reservoir and has many sections suitable for beginners with Idyllic flatwater canals under overhanging tree.   But then the pretty flatwater is seperated by very pretty, big serious rapids.   Even the easy floating sections have a few lurking short but steep little drops with big holes.   Still, strong beginners with river experience do get escorted down by Kaweah regulars, especially at lower flows.   But... they have an exciting time!


From the NF bridge the river starts off pretty flat and scenic, but with occasional short steep drops.  The lines down the drops are easy, generally on one side or the other, but on several a big hole occupies the center of river.   Be in the right place and it is smooth and easy, but be in the wrong spot and its Glug! Glug! Glug!


Holiday Rapid, near the end is class 4 and very big, but it is easily portaged.   Love Canal is a long and very continuous class 2 or 3 rapid.   Several other rapids throughout the run are also very worthy of respect.


Getting There:

Take Highway 99 then turn east on Highway 198 through Visalia towards Three Rivers.   The routes is Freeway or excellent highway for all of the distance. 


Take out:

At the upper end of Terminus Reservoir is a Lake Access area.   There is plenty of parking, toilets, and no fee. 


Put in: 

Most of the roadside around the NF Bridge is posted for no parking, so boaters have to be creative.  Most people actually launch upstream near the gas station across from the school.  They launch downstream of the big rapid there. 

Other Information Sources:
The Kaweah River Page created by Bill Pooley has the best and most up-to-date information about the river. 

California Creeks
Kaweah-River.com where you can find this handy little river map.

Local Clubs:
For more information on this and other local paddling areas, please feel free to contact these local clubs:  NEW Kayak ClubGold Country Paddlers. SJPaddlers,

You can get more information from California's Whitewater Community at boof.com.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2007-05-19 01:35:10


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
6.1North Fork Drive BridgePutin
6.6Tuber's ReligionIII
7.0Golf CourseIII
8.0Tunnel of LoveIII
8.0Dead CowIII
9.0Upper Holiday Hole (Washing Machine)IV
9.2Lower HolidayIV
10.0Terminus ReservoirTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Upper Holiday Hole (Washing Machine) (Class IV, Mile 9.0)
The river makes a sharp turn to the right and enters a low gorge.   Large boulders block the entrance and constrict the main flow into a narrow channel on the right.   The river plunges down a steep ramp into a big hole.   The left side of the hole is the deepest.  The current pushes boaters to the left and they must paddle hard to cross back to the right and come down the right side of the ramp.  The hole can flip rafts and kayakers, sending swimmers on into middle and lower Holiday. 

Kayakers can avoid this chute by swinging wide to the left and negotiating narrow routes through some boulders.   This sneak route presents its own difficulties.  

A good potage trail is on river right.   Scout from this side also

Holiday Rapid is below the high water line of Terminus Reservoir so it is not visible in the aerial photo map. Still, in most years it is boatable for much of the spring whitewater season. 

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