Difficulty III-IV
Length 5.5 Miles
Gauge Little Carp Approximation
Flow Range 100 - 600 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 35 minutes ago ~ 0 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/02/2019 9:20 am

River Description

Quick Facts:
Location: Porcupine Mountain State Park
Shuttle Length: Hike. (See details below.)
Character: Big slides and a lot of wood.

Put-in elevation is approximately 1270'.
Take-out elevation is approximately 600' (mean Lake Superior elevation).
Thus total elevation change is approximately 670 '.

Information (lat, lng, elev, total drop, run length, shuttle length) adjusted and/or verified from best manual extrapolation of online data (via maps.google.com, distance measuring tool, and other resources). 2009.02.05

The resolution on Google Maps for this area is fairly decent. You may be interested in going to the 'Map' tab, clicking 'Satellite', clicking-and-dragging the put-in (to have it center-screen), zooming in to the maximum resolution available, and doing a 'virtual walk' of this reach!

Previously described (by a StreamTeam member who, with no disrespect intended, never actually finished the run) as a masochistic expedition, in a wooded up wilderness stream, requiring a long hike-in (on Greenstone Falls trail off South Boundary Road) and a 4.5 mile paddle-out on Lake Superior. Others who have done it consider it an excellent wilderness whitewater river, with a few 'opportunities to stretch' while carrying or pulling your boat around some (unrunnable) scenic hydrologic features.

This run can be split into two main sections with the first putin at Little Carp River Road. The Little Carp River encounters Overlooked Falls and Greenstone Falls, followed by about 2 miles of wooded-up river to the confluence with Webeno Creek. Thus, we recommend anyone wanting to catch these two falls should just do a 'park-and-huck' here, before heading to the lower section.

The second putin involves bushwhacking, carrying or dragging your boat 1/4 mile from South Boundary Road along the ridge adjacent to Webeno Creek to get to the river. From Webeno Creek down to Lake Superior are a number of nice drops, some prime stretches of continuous class III, and very likely about ten log portages before the mouth at Lake Superior.

About 1/4 mile downstream from Webeno Creek lies the first drop in the second section, followed quickly by Trapper's Falls, one of the highlights of paddling in the Porkies. This is a long, tall, breathtaking conglomerate slide that will quicken the pulse even if you decide to portage. Numerous sections of fine class III are encountered after Trapper's. Keep your eye out for wood in this section.

Toward the end of the run, you'll find a sweet series of three drops before a foot bridge, where you may encounter fishermen in search of a trophy steelhead or coaster brook trout. The mouth of the Little Carp at Lake Superior lies just beyond.

You now have three options: paddle 5 miles to the Presque Isle camp ground take out, paddle 1 mile to the Big Carp River for a run the next day, or carry/drag your boat 2.6 miles up the Pinckerton trail back to South Boundary Road. (I recommend the Big Carp!)

Rapid Descriptions

Approximate drainage

Class - N/A Mile - 0

Drainage area at Little Carp River Road is in the neighborhood of 10 square miles.

Overlooked and Greenstone Falls

Class - IV Mile - 0.56
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Overlooked falls is reportedly a pair of <5' drops in close succession. Greenstone is a single drop of ~5'.

A fine photo essay of Overlooked Falls (a bit upstream) and Greenstone Falls is available at: Porcupine U.P.

Wabeno Creek Confluence

Class - N/A Mile - 2.4

Trappers Falls

Class - IV Mile - 3.5

Another fine photo essay for this drop is available at: GoWaterfalling.

Explorer's Falls

Class - IV Mile - 3.71
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Traders Falls

Class - IV Mile - 4.98
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Reportedly less than a 5' drop.

A brief blurb and photo are available at: GoWaterfalling.

Final Triple

Class - N/A Mile - 5.3

Just before reaching the mouth of the river at Lake Superior, you are treated to three drops in quick succession.


Gage Descriptions

Visual. Generally boatable a couple weeks in spring when all else in the U.P. is running high.

You can also get a pretty decent idea of runnability by checking the Black River gauge or by checking the Presque Isle River boaters gauge on the bridge pier under South Boundary Road. The day we ran the Little Carp at a moderate level, the Black was around 1500 cfs (5.0 ft), and the Presque Isle gauge read 7.8 ft.

Generally, if the Black and Presque Isle are too high to run, the Little Carp is probably prime.

* Based upon these recommendations, we have linked to the Black River gauge as a reference gauge. Please understand that (as with any reference gauge), correlation is not assured. This gauge is only to indicate possible runnability, and must be substantiated by on-site visual evaluation of this stream.

Directions Description

As mentioned in the main details tab, the access for this is either hiking out or paddling Lake Superior to Presque Isle Campground. Therefore, ignore the shuttle directions below. However, if you enter your home or other starting location into the text box, you can get drive time, distance, and directions to this river.

No Accident Reports




Steve Corsi




Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192480 02/05/09 Steve Corsi n/a
1196730 11/23/09 Rob Fix/remove broken links.
1211759 04/02/19 Rob updated image position
1208636 01/02/18 Rob minor edit