Sun 1/6/08 Santa Margarita River through Temecula Canyon. 7 miles - Class IV+
Carl called at 9am and woke me up. I didn't think my back would be capable of running
anything, but it loosened up nicely as I surfed the internet for flow/rain data. I had my
eyes on the Santa Margarita for a while, thanks to the really nice write up on AW by Rocky
Contos and one by Charles Foster on his web site. I arrived at the put-in behind an
interstate gas station. The rain was coming down in sheets and the river was way up in
the brush- my butterflies were getting cranked up. It looked huge compared to what we
had on the Big Tujunga. We did some quick scouting and then ran shuttle. Magically, the
rain let up and as we put-in, I realized that despite my fear of water, kayaking and water
actually go hand in hand. As soon as we got on the water, things started feeling familiar
and the butterflies quickly left. It was a welcome feeling being on a real river again. What
we found downstream was drop after drop of pure Class IV, boat-scoutable bliss. I highly
recommend this run! It was very continuous, relatively clean of strainers and sketchiness,
and full of quality boulder gardens and slides. We shore scouted maybe 3 times and only
carried a couple times due to wood and brush.
Flows: We had 3.2 feet on the Murrieta Creek gauge that is referenced in the two write-
ups I talked about above. I think that's about 1300cfs. While Charles Foster says the
optimum flow is 600-750, the flow we had was great, and a little more would've cleaned
things up nicely without making the holes much stickier. We put on at 2pm (not
recommended) and were off at 5pm. Scout the take-out!! We were late putting on and
lazy, and almost missed the take-out. It was getting cold and that would've been a major
Estimated optimum flow (per Rocky Contos): 1500 cfs
Charles Foster reports on his Temecula Canyon website that "3.2 feet/600-750 cfs is a good level."
arrmike reported on BoaterTalk, "I've done it once at 8,000cfs and don't recommend that. I'd love to get on it at a lower flow."
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
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.
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!