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Difficulty I-II(IV)
Length 7.5 Miles
Gauge STURGEON RIVER NEAR SIDNAW, MI
Flow Range 400 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 month ago 110 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 02/21/2015 12:52 am

River Description


The principal attraction to this reach lies within the first mile and a half, through the sequence of ledges known as Tibbets Falls. From the Plains Rd bridge, boulderbed rapids increase as they lead to the "falls" proper. The largest ledge is only around 4-5' in height (so this is really more a rapids than a true falls), but can generate a wicked hydraulic at higher flows. A steep "S" turn rapid finishes the sequence, followed by boulderbed that eases off into little more than miles and miles of moving water.

There is parking and a riverside trail (river-right along the whole first 1.5 miles) to access Tibbetts Falls for viewing, scouting, and take-out if a short trip including just the falls is desired. This access/take-out point may be reached by driving north from the listed put-in and turning onto the first dirt road to the left (less than 1/2 mile). From here, look for the second two track road to the left, turn and drive to a small parking area at the end. There is a trail which leads down to the river at this point. In early season expect this road will be impassible or 4WD only.

Beyond the initial (1.2 mile) sequence, the remainder of the reach is primarily flat, with class I-II boulder bed encountered in the final mile or so. Take-out is at Sturgeon Gorge Road Campground or a pull-off just beyond (if campground is closed and impassible).

Rapid Descriptions

First ledge/wave

Class - N/A Mile - 0.85
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Just over 3/4ths mile down from Plains Road, immediately after Kelsey Creek comes in river-left, as the Sturgeon takes a sharp right, it encounters a first ledge/wave. River-right may be more aggressive, river-left will skirt most of this spot. This is merely a small hint at what lies ahead.

Next set of ledges

Class - N/A Mile - 0.94
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

About 0.1 mile later (as the river takes another slight-right) another 2-3 ledges are encountered. Only a brief break precedes the main event below.

Tibbets Falls

Class - IV Mile - 1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Tibbets Falls is a complex sequence of ledges. At good flows, there will be a wealth of nasty pourovers and holes to avoid (or try to 'punch'). Very few 'clean' lines ('sneaks') will exist. We strongly recommend scouting this (roughly) quarter-mile stretch before putting on, to have a real good concept of what it will take to run (and whether you are really up for it).

End of Tibbets Falls

Class - N/A Mile - 1.18
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Most paddlers will likely take-out here to carry to vehicles (or carry back up for another run of this short intense stretch).

Boulder garden rapids

Class - II Mile - 5.9
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A final bit of gradient and boulder bed to finish the run.

Confluence, Perch River

Class - N/A Mile - 6.65
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The Perch River comes in river-left.

2200 (Sturgeon Gorge Road) Bridge

Class - N/A Mile - 7
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The rapids continue a ways downstream, so you might as well enjoy it! A campground a quarter-mile downstream makes a far better spot for your drop-vehicle and take-out.

Comments

Summary of Gauge Readings

Gauge is right at put-in. At lower levels, this may be runnable, but grungy and 'creeky'. At higher levels, this reach will be quite intense, with river-wide keeper hydraulics.

Disclaimer: Be aware that indication of a 'runnable' level by the gauge does not necessarily mean that the river is runnable. In winter, gauge readings may be 'ice affected'. Sections of the river may be impassable due to ice. Use discretion for winter and early spring runs.

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
STURGEON RIVER NEAR SIDNAW, MI
AW Gauge Info
110 cfs ℹ️ 53d05h45m Gauge (171 sq.mi. drainage) is right at listed put-in, thus is very accurate for flows in this reach.
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Directions Description


Most boaters who do this reach will opt only for the first 1.5 miles, doing a carry-up/carry-out run. Therefore, the shuttle directions which follow are likely to be ignored. However, use the text-entry box to input your home or other starting location to get drive time, distance, and directions to this put-in.

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