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Difficulty II
Length 9.1 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 02/02/2003 6:55 pm

River Description

From Boulder Creek to Ben Lomond, the run has several low-water dams. Richard Montgomery and I ran this at 6000 cfs and had to make quick exits for several bad hydraulics. This section isn't recommended.

Ben Lomond to Felton, however, is a much better run with no major hazards (as of last check). This stretch is described in the Schwind Guidebook. The best place to put in is at the park just before (south) Ben Lomond. To reach it from Santa Cruz, head up Highway 9, six miles to Felton and another 2 miles to the Ben Lomond Park.

Park a car outside of the Henry Cowell State Park entrance bridge just south of downtown Felton. Go out on the bridge and look upstream to see if the inflatable dam is up, the only major hazard on this stretch.

This stretch has moving water with small rapids, passing through the woods but close to houses. It's a good place to teach someone how to kayak, with minimal woody debris.

The only hazard is the inflatable dam, but watch for strainers. The water quality for this run improves through the season.

At high flows, watch for wood and wait until after the flows have crested if possible. At the putin park there's a small ledge that forms an excellent wave-hole above 1000 cfs (6000 cfs was phenomenal).


Rapid Descriptions


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11 years ago

I live on the river in Ben Lomond and do this run regularly in the winter. 250cfs at the Felton gauge would be a bare minimum and over 1200 a few of the dams get big drops with nasty consequences. I just did the run today, 2-18-09 at 350 cfs (read at Felton gauge and the run is a fun class II+ with no portages until just above my house near Highlands Park due to a few trees across a flat stretch of the river. I cant imagine the run at 6000cfs though, thats nuts. I did the Ben Lomond to Felton run the other day at close to 2000 and everything was washed out including the ledge drop below Highlands Park and the run was boring at that flow because there were no rapids. I prefer the Boulder Creek run and would recommend it to a class III boater.Carl

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Zak Lieby
17 years ago

I have ran from boulder creek to ben lomond and I had aleast five or six portages because of low head dams, or remains of dams. I would not recommend this run. The rapids themselves are probably class II but because of the hazards only experts should attempt this run.It is very very brushy there was one rapid that could have been a disaster a big bend hidden by brush all the water was pouring right into an old concrete bridge support very ugly. I had to abort my run of that rapid half-way down.
Stick to the Felton to Santa Cruz strech much more fun!!!!!!!

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Directions Description

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Mark Buckley


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190087 02/02/03 Mark Buckley n/a