Methow - 3. McFarland Creek access to Pateros (Black Canyon)


Methow, Washington, US

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3. McFarland Creek access to Pateros (Black Canyon)

Usual Difficulty III (for normal flows)
Length 16.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 24 fpm

Black Canyon


Black Canyon
Photo by Eric Mickelson taken 07/22/11 @ 9500 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
METHOW RIVER NEAR PATEROS, WA
usgs-12449950 1000 - 10000 cfs III 00h47m 372 cfs (too low)


River Description

The Methow is a bigwater snow melt run with its headwaters in the peaks of the North Cascades. The river features plenty of waves and holes particularly at Black Canyon Rapids, the highlight of the run. The run can easily be broken up into two separate runs as the first half is a class II+ run from McFarland down to the Burma Road Bridge. The seond half features several great class III rapids from the Burma Road Bridge down to Pateros.

McFarland Creek Access to Burma Road Bridge, Class II+, 8.2 miles

This section begins with several big bouncy class II rapids dispersed over the first couple miles. If you want to shorten the warmp up there are alternate access points just upstream of the town of Methow where Highway 153 crosses the river (put-in under the bridge on downstream river left). Another access point is Lightening Pine Camgpround, a private campground on river left across the river from the town of Methow where boaters sometimes camp and utilize the private launch.

Continuing past the town of Methow, which is not readily visible from the river, the Methow comes back along the highway and you will pass a great playspot for the kayakers on river right. Locals or those passing through on a road trip sometimes enjoy this as a fun park-and-play spot. Engle's Slide is a named rapid less than half a mile downstream of the play spot that is an easier class III rapid.

More fun class II rapids continue down to the Burma Road Bridge across the Methow a couple miles downstream which marks the midway point of the run and a potential access point.

Burma Road Bridge to Pateros, Class III, 8.2 miles

This is the classic Black Canyon section of the Methow featuring some wonderful class III action.

The first major rapid on this section is the class IV Black Canyon Rapids just after you pass the confluence with Black Canyon Creek and the river takes a slight bend to the left where a high canyon wall rises up from river left. Avoid the Black Hole on river left near the start of the rapid and the next hole downstream on river right by starting center-right and then moving into the wave train down the left once you pass the Black Hole.

Staircase and Corner Rapids are fun class III rapids that come within the next mile and are relatively easy to read and run. Stay alert as you approach a footbridge as a big hole forms behind a boulder to the right of center.

The next class III rapids are Roadside Attraction, appropriately named as you parallel the highway. Next is Bridge Rapid which comes after you pass under the next Highway 153 bridge. Both are relatively straightforward to run down the main flow.

Finally comes Meteriorite, a large boulder that can form a hole at the highest flows. You will soon be at the take-out as the flow tapers off upon nearing the Columbia River confluence.

Logistics: The put-in at McFarland is a convenient WDFW access site (requires a parking permit) on the upstream river left side of the Highway 153 Bridge at mile marker 14.1. Intermediate access at Burma Road is at mile 8.4 on Highway 153. You can scout Black Canyon rapids on the shuttle from Highway 153 mile 6.8. An take-out is available at Highway 153 mile 1.1 or if you want facilities you can continue down to the WDFW access site at mile 0.7 (requires a parking permit).


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-06-01 05:26:19

Editors


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-14.8Burma Road, Upper AccessN/AAccess Photo
-12.2PlayspotII+Playspot Photo
-11.9Engle's SlideIII
-9.7Burma Road, Lower AccessN/AAccess Photo
-8.1Black Canyon RapidsIII+Photo
-7.7StaircaseIIIPhoto
-7.3Corner RapidsIIIPhoto
-6.4HoleIIPhoto
-5.9Roadside AttractionIIIPhoto
-5.3Bridge RapidsIIIPhoto
-4.7MeteoriteIIPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Burma Road, Upper Access (Class N/A, Mile -14.8)

River Access

River Access
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 05/25/13 @ 5300 cfs

The high bridge at the northern end of Burma Road provides access on the downstream river left side of the bridge.



Playspot (Class II+, Mile -12.2)

Play Wave

Play Wave
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 05/25/13 @ 5300 cfs

Fun little play wave on river right just downstream of the town of Methow where the river comes up against the road and a footbridge is visible.



Burma Road, Lower Access (Class N/A, Mile -9.7)

Burma Road Access

Burma Road Access
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 09/08/07 @ 0 cfs

The low bridge at the southern end of Burma Road provides access on the downstream river right side of the bridge.



Black Canyon Rapids (Class III+, Mile -8.1)

Black Canyon

Black Canyon
Photo by Eric Mickelson taken 07/22/11 @ 9500 cfs

Avoid the Black Hole on river left near the start of the rapid and the next hole downstream on river right by starting center-right and then moving into the wave train down the left once you pass the Black Hole.



Staircase (Class III, Mile -7.7)

Staircase

Staircase
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 05/25/13 @ 5300 cfs


Corner Rapids (Class III, Mile -7.3)

Entering Corner Rapids

Entering Corner Rapids
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 05/25/13 @ 5300 cfs


Hole (Class II, Mile -6.4)

Hole at Footbridge

Hole at Footbridge
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 05/25/13 @ 5300 cfs

Hole on river right usptream of the footbridge.



Roadside Attraction (Class III, Mile -5.9)

Finishing Off Roadside Attraction

Finishing Off Roadside Attraction
Photo of Ken Gersten by Thomas O'Keefe taken 05/25/13 @ 5300 cfs


Bridge Rapids (Class III, Mile -5.3)

Bridge Rapid

Bridge Rapid
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 05/25/13 @ 5300 cfs


Meteorite (Class II, Mile -4.7)

Meteorite

Meteorite
Photo of Tim Blecha by Thomas O'Keefe taken 05/25/13 @ 5300 cfs

A large rock on river right that develops a big hole at higher flows.




User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 12 2004 (4820 days ago)
Karen HensleyDetails
This run is always done by Paddle Trails Canoe Club as 2 runs. The first run is II+ putting in at
McFarland Creek Access about 5 or 6 miles North of the town of Methow on highway 153. Take out at
the concrete bridge, about 3 miles south of the town of Methow, where Burma Road crosses the river
to the East side of the highway. You can park either on the west siide of Highway 153, or drive
across the bridge and park on Burma Road. This run is great for canoes and kayaks, and a pleasant
float for rafts at 1,100 CFS.

The second run is the Class III part and puts in at the Burma Road Concrete bridge and goes down to
the top of the backwater near Pateros. You will see the parking on the left of the highway. This is
known as the "Black Canyon" run. Rafts will enjoy more excitement on this section at or
above 2,000 CFS, but we have enjoyed tamer rafting as low as 1600. Canoes and kayaks can paddle and
will enjoy this section much lower. At 750 cfs the Black Canyon forms a narrow chute, which is
still canoeable.


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Associated Projects

  • Methow River
    American Whitewater supports the conservation and stewardship of the Methow River.