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Difficulty IV
Length 18.5 Miles
Gauge PIRU CREEK ABOVE LAKE PIRU CA
Flow Range 6.62 - 7.60 FT
Flow Rate as of: 16 hours ago 1.98 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/29/2011 2:36 am

River Description


Middle Piru Creek between Pyramid Lake and Piru Lake is a beautiful class 4 wilderness run through incredible geology. It can be runnable for a few days immediately during and after large winter rain storms, or for longer periods during very wet winters.

Getting There:  

Piru Creek lies just to the west of the Grapevine section of Highway I-5, north of Los Angeles.  


Put-in: From the Highway 126 junction in Castaic, Take I-5 north, 10.5 miles to the Templin Highway junction. Turn left (west) under the freeway, then immediately turn right onto Golden State Highway. Travel 5.2 miles to Frenchmans' Flat Campground.  google map.

Take-out: Take I-5 to Castaic. Take highway 126 west, 11 miles to the town of Piru. Turn right on Center Street and go 7/10 mile to Orchard Street and turn right. Travel 2/10 mile on Orchard, then turn right on Piru Canyon Road. Travel 6 1/2 miles to the Piru Lake boat ramp. google map.

Note: Be aware that there may be BARBED WIRE across the river about 2 miles or so before the creek flows into Lake Piru, and NYLON FENCE and BARBED WIRE slightly further downstream. This creek has many strainers and pinning spots. The creek is normally boated at fairly low flows, so it is usually not disastrous, but if things go wrong you have very few options. It can make a very long day if something goes wrong. Bring extra food on this one -- 15 miles of class IV is longer than you think!

 

At the end of the run, the river gets shallow and braided.   If flows are too low or you choose the wrong channel you may have to drag your boat occasionally.   Then you face 3 miles of flat water paddling on the reservoir to get to the boat ramp.   Paddlers are supposed to stay within 100 feet of the west shore while paddling on the lake to the boat ramps.   Also, the boat ramps close early in the winter time.  Contact the  recreation area for specifics.


Other Information Sources:
Gary Valle
Piru Creek Slide Show  by Gary Valle and Gary Gunder.   Excellent!
Charles Foster
Friends of the River

Lake Piru Recreation Area
United Water Conservation District   operates Lake Piru and uses the water for farm irrigation.

Approximate elevations
Put-in: 2040 feet
Take-out: 1060 feet

 

 

Rapid Descriptions

Frenchman's Flat Campground

Class - Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
This campground is 2 miles downstream of the Pyramid Lake dam.
Elevation is approximately 2040 feet.

Fall's Gorge

Class - N/A Mile - 10
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A spectacular section of the creek that also contains several large and congested drops and potential portages.

Piru Lake (reservoir)

Class - Mile - 15.67
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Paddle along the western shore of Piru Lake to the boat ramp.
Elevation: 1060 feet

Piru Lake Boat Ramps

Class - Mile - 18.52
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
As much as 3.5 miles of flatwater paddling along the western shore of the lake brings one to the boat ramps.

Comments

Gage Descriptions

The  Piru Creek above Frenchman's Flat gauge is just upstream of the put-in and shows outflows from the reservoir.   This gauge operates seasonally (November to April) to show spills from Pyramid lake.  Since it is a reservoir release, flows will usually step up or down in discrete increments.   As you boat downstream, flows will increase from various tributaries.

 

The Piru Creek above Lake Piru gauge is above Lake Piru, on the left bank near Blue Point, 1.3 miles downstream of Agua Blanca Creek and 15 miles downstream from Pyramid Dam.   During the rain season, much of this flow can come from tributaries along the length of the run.    Maximum flows have been huge, 40,000 cfs on Jan 10, 2005, at gage height, 16.39 ft.   Since May of 2009, this gauge has not been reporting real time flows in cfs.   However the level in feet has continued to report in real time.   This Rating Depot table compares stage with cfs at this site. 

Rating Table  (as of Jan. 2010)
400 cfs       6.62 ft
500 cfs       7.03 ft
600 cfs       7.13 ft
700 cfs       7.22 ft
800 cfs       7.31 ft
900 cfs       7.38 ft
1000 cfs     7.46 ft
1100 cfs     7.53 ft
1200 cfs     7.60 ft

 

Santa Clara River Basin pdf schematic of Santa Clara river and tributaries, including Piru Creek.

 

 

Dreamflow.com is a good resource for this and other flows.  

Daily Flows Realtime Flows Dreamflows Home

         Show 30 Days               Show 3 Years

 

 

Permits

NA

Directions Description


Put-in: From the Highway 126 junction in Castaic, Take I-5 north, 10.5 miles to the Templin Highway junction. Turn left (west) under the freeway, then immediately turn right onto Golden State Highway. Travel 5.2 miles to Frenchmans' Flat Campground.  google map.

Take-out: Take I-5 to Castaic. Take highway 126 west, 11 miles to the town of Piru. Turn right on Center Street and go 7/10 mile to Orchard Street and turn right. Travel 2/10 mile on Orchard, then turn right on Piru Canyon Road. Travel 6 1/2 miles to the Piru Lake boat ramp.  google map.    There is a day use fee to enter the Lake Piru Recreation Area.

 

The map below ignores the Templin Highway to the put in, and shows a road from Vista Del Lago that is not open to the public or does not exist.

 

When you get to Lake Piru, paddlers are supposed to stay within 100 feet of the west shore while paddling on the lake to the boat ramps.   Also the boat ramps may close fairly early in the winter time.  Contact the  recreation area for specifics. 

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Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192943 01/30/07 n/a n/a
1196907 12/15/09 Paul Martzen
1197157 01/24/10 Paul Martzen
1197158 01/24/10 Paul Martzen
1197159 01/25/10 Paul Martzen
1199956 04/29/11 Paul Martzen changed sequence