Piru Creek - 2) Pyramid Lake to Lake Piru

Piru Creek, California, US


2) Pyramid Lake to Lake Piru (Middle Piru)

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 18.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 67 fpm
Max Gradient 100 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-11109600 6.62 - 7.60 ft IV 00h40m 3.85 ft (too low)
usgs-11109550 200 - 800 cfs IV 00h40m 142 cfs (too low)

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



StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-04-29 02:36:31

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Frenchman's Flat CampgroundPutin
10.0Fall's GorgeN/A
15.7Piru Lake (reservoir)
18.5Piru Lake Boat RampsTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Frenchman's Flat Campground
This campground is 2 miles downstream of the Pyramid Lake dam.
Elevation is approximately 2040 feet.

Fall's Gorge (Class N/A, Mile 10.0)

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

Piru Lake (reservoir)
Paddle along the western shore of Piru Lake to the boat ramp.
Elevation: 1060 feet

Piru Lake Boat Ramps
As much as 3.5 miles of flatwater paddling along the western shore of the lake brings one to the boat ramps.

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