This run is a class 4 classic. Beautiful rapids are set in a deep, impressive box canyon of high cliffs. In several areas, curtains of water cascade down the cliffs from large springs.
It's just off I-5 and if you're driving though in season it makes for a fun paddling diversion. It is tough to figure out if it's running by using the Sacramento @ Delta gauge as a guide as that gauge is close to 40 miles downstream from the put-in. There are too many variables to come up with a simple formula using that gauge as a guide, but there is a good rule of thumb. As the season progresses the flow in box canyon will be an ever increasing percentage of the total flow at the gauge. In season paddlers will often post the height of the Cantara Gauge on Dreamflows.com (The Cantara guage is the stick gauge at the end of Box Canyon on river left). It's a good bet that Box will have boatable flows from late March thru May.
Take out: Beneath the Dunsmir Avenue bridge in Dunsmir. Put in: The furthest upstream put in requires the use of ropes to descend to the river. From the left side of the dam, hike downstream a short ways to a clearing, then look for an improvised system of ropes and ladders leading down to the river. Alternative put ins are at: Ney Springs Fishing Access, Stink Creek and Cantera Loop.
Other Information Sources:A Wet State: Box CanyonJefferson State: Box Canyon Ca Creekin: Box Canyon Oregon RaftingDreamflows Bulletin Board: Box Canyon pageSyskiyou County Flood Control and Water Conseration District - Phone - 530-842-8250 Cassady & Calhoun, Holbek & Stanley, Schwind, Gerald Meral
Hike downstream on a trail on river left till you see a clearing. Find a rope system leading down to the water.
If the dam is spilling, some rafters drop their empty rafts in the reservoir and let them go over the spillway rather than lower them down the ropes. Of course people have to be waiting below to catch the rafts.
This is an alternate put in and access location on river right. This access point is probably more suitable for rafts than the roped descent close to the dam.
Boaters sometimes run laps from the put in to here, making a short and quick run.
Water from a large spring cascades down cliffs on river left.
Great news! Siskiyou Co now has the flow out of Box Canyon dam online at;
If this link doesn't work dreamflows has one on the Box Canyon notes page.
Like everyone else who frequents this run I've always used the stick gauge to determine the flow and it will take some time to find the correlation between the two.
I'll guess that if it's over 450cfs you are more than good to go
This run is a class 4 classic and one of my favorites. It's just off I-5 and if you're driving though in season it makes for a fun paddling diversion. It is tough to figure out if it's running by using the Sacramento @ Delta gauge as a guide as it is close to 40 miles downstream from the put-in. And there are way to many variables to come up with a simple formula using that gauge as a guide. A good rule of thumb is; as the season progresses the flow in box canyon will be a ever increasing percentage of the total flow at the gauge. In season paddlers will often post the height of the Cantara Gauge on Dreamflows too (The Cantara guage is the stick gauge at the end of Box Canyon on river left). It's a good bet that it will be running late March thru May. Jefferson State Creeking has an excellent write-up on the run with pictures, logistics.
A whitewater guidebook to the Pacific Coast of the United States from the Rogue River to the Salinas Valley in California.
It's a good bet that Box will have boatable flows from late March thru May.
Flow information from Box Canyon Dam can now be obtained from the Siskiyou County General Services webpage. See this Box Canyon Discharge Flow Rate to download a pdf graph of readings for one month. If the webpage is down you can try calling 530-842-8250 during regular business hours and ask for flow information. Everyone has been nice and helpful in obtaining the information.
The Sacramento @ Delta gauge displayed below is 40 miles downstream from the put-in. Because of myriad tributaries, this gauge will read much higher than actual flows in Box canyon. However, as the season progresses, the flow in box canyon will be an ever increasing percentage of the total flow at the gauge.
Paddlers will sometimes post the height of the Cantara Gauge on Dreamflows.com (The Cantara guage is the stick gauge at the end of Box Canyon on river left). Boatable levels are from about 4.5' to over 6'. Difficulty is class 3 at the lowest levels and steadily increases through class 4 at 5' to class 4+ at the higher levels..
Permits are not required for this reach.
This run is close to Interstate 5, just southwest of Mt Shasta in northern California. The put in is about 67 miles north of Redding, California.
Box Canyon Low Water
Box Canyon Access Ladder
Box Canyon Access Anchor
Box Canyon Access
Box Canyon Dam
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
On Thursday, October 4th, American Whitewater testified before California's State Water Resources Control Board in support of more stringent water quality protections at the City of Mt. Shasta's wastewater treatment plant, located on the Box Canyon run of the Sacramento River. The Board accepted recommendations from AW and the boating community that these protections be implemented year-round. The final permit is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
The Box Canyon Run on California's Sacramento River is a favorite for locals and people from around the region. The water quality of the reach has been impacted by the wastewater treatment plant at Mt. Shasta, with the notable "Brown Trout" rapid immediately downstream from the outfall. American Whitewater supported provisions in the tentative permit that require more stringent disinfection standards when there is enough water in the river for boating.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!