Russian - Pieta Creek to 101 Bridge

Russian, California, US


Pieta Creek to 101 Bridge (Frog Woman Rock, AKA Squaw Rock Run)

Usual Difficulty II+(III) (for normal flows)
Length 8.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 15 fpm
Max Gradient 50 fpm

Quiet stretch above Squaw Rock

Quiet stretch above Squaw Rock
Photo by Randy Hodges

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-11463000 200 - 30000 cfs II+(III) 00h46m 3100 cfs (running)
Flow range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report. Gauge (503 sq.mi. drainage) is about midway on this reach, thus should accurately show actual flow in this reach.

River Description

This section is commonly called the Squaw Rock section because the main landmark is a large volcanic bluff around which the river flows.  The largest rapid is also at the base of this bluff.  However the name of the bluff has been changed to Frog Woman Rock, which was the local Pomo Indian name for this formation.

There are many alternate put-ins and take-outs here. The section from Pieta Creek to Comminsky Station is pretty flat except for Frog Woman Rock itself. You might consider entering at Comminsky instead. We often do the 1.5 Mile stretch from Comminsky to just below C-Turn. We feel that this short stretch has the best playing potential. There is a large turn-out from the freeway there and you will often see parked cars with racks on them.

You might also consider taking out at NACO or Preston. Both are considerably easier take-outs than the bridge. The bridge take out involves either private property (occasionally enforced) or a steep artificial talus slope. Take out (googlemap)

The Frog Woman Rock Rapid is the only true Class III here. It is considerably harder when the flow is below 300 or above 1500. Above 2000, it is probably a Class IV. You may scout this rapid from the road before you run it.

The "C-Turn" rapid can be Class III-/III at flows greater than 700 or so CFS. Be sure to take the left-hand channel from the large pool above.

Warning - This section has had a number of trees (strainers) across the river in some years.

Frog Woman Rock is the original Pomo Indian name for this volcanic rock.  Bi-tsin’ ma-ca Ka-be’. (frog woman cliff), or kawao maatha qhabe, Frog Woman Rock.  The Frog Woman has a beautiful face but the body of a frog.  She lives in a den in the rock.  She can leap a hundred feet and snatches up passing kayakers.  She makes them pleasure her, then devours them.  The historic landmark along the highway has been changed from Squaw Rock to Frog Woman Rock. 

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2014-08-18 18:01:36

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.0Squaw RockIIIWaterfall Photo
1.3Grave YardII+
2.5Comminsky Station Splat RockPlayspot
2.7The RoomII+

Rapid Descriptions

Squaw Rock (Class III, Mile 1.0)

Squaw Rock on the Russian River

Squaw Rock on the Russian River
Photo by Chuck Bartley taken 12/10/01 @ 2000 CFS

This is the only Class III. The water drops significantly as it makes a large bend around a 500 foot high rock. There are several drops. The biggest involves fast manuvering around a large rock at low water. Above 1500 or so CFS, the rock forms a pretty much unavoidable hole.

Grave Yard (Class II+, Mile 1.3)
This is a relatively high gradient rock garden directly below Squaw Rock. 5 ft drop at the end is often called "Tilden Falls"

Comminsky Station Splat Rock
There is a great "Splat Rock" just below the low-water bridge at Comminsky Station. Great fun.

The Room (Class II+, Mile 2.7)
The river splits around a large rock. The right-most channel takes you down a narrow "Hallway" into "The Room." Splatrock and hole at the bottom. The left channel is also fun if it isn't congested with strainers. Be careful.

Double-Drop (Class II+, Mile 3.0)

Double-Drop at high water

Double-Drop at high water
Photo of Randy Hodges in the raft. Miles Everette in the IK by Chuck Bartley taken 12/10/01 @ 2000 CFS

Two consecutive drops. Big rocks in mid stream. 2nd drop has a good play hole at moderate flows.

C-Turn (Class II+, Mile 4.0)

"The Ledge" at C-Turn

"The Ledge" at C-Turn
Photo of William Hodges by Chuck Bartley taken 12/10/01 @ 2000 CFS

Actually two distinct drops. Take the left most branch after the big pool at "Alcapulco" (Named for the big Pyramid Shaped diving rock on river right). The first is called "The Ledge" and is a steep chute with a 2 - 3 ft drop. This is a hole at higher water. After a short easy section, the left-side-stream merges with the main river for a congested rapid. Holes at moderate water, washed-out at high water.

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