This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III+
Length 0.3 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range N/A
Flow Rate as of: 1 second ago N/A
Reach Info Last Updated 05/06/2009 7:56 am

River Description

The run is an action-packed, fast ride which consists of five ledge drops. This spillway drops nearly 20 feet in 0.3 mile, for an 'effective gradient' of about 60 FPM.

The first 3 ledges are 3', 4' and 5' drops respectively. Punch them at the center for clean landings. A short section of flat water precedes ledges 4 and 5, which are closely spaced for a cumulative drop of 6+ ft (try to stay right of center at the very bottom to avoid a SHARP block that severely dents and gouges boats and flesh ). Ledges 4 and 5 can't be scouted from your boat. The best part is there's a trail that parallels the run allowing you to scout the section first, then bag multiple runs. Scouting is highly advised as there's a huge potential for strainers and beaver dams.

Two drainages feed this short stretch: one that feeds the lake/spillway which then merges with the other drainage (Ditch No.166) for the rest of the run to the Boone River.

Note: The cover photo above is the last ledge in Ditch No. 166 before joining the Boone River.

Sharp rocks, beaver dams, narrow channel, micro-eddies, a fast ride. The spillway seldom has more than a trickle over it even when the ditch is flowing strong. If you do happen to find it cranking, scout it carefully and be warned that there are concrete 'current deflectors' about 12' from the spillway.

How to Get There:
Take Hwy 17 south from Webster City a couple miles until you see the signs for Briggs Woods County Park. Enter the park, go past the camp grounds & boat ramp and shelter 3 (north) to the end of the road. From there it's a short hike down to the spillway. Follow the outflow channel a little further to the ditch.

Rapid Descriptions

Briggs Woods

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


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David Weber
14 years ago

Groovy, nice to see all the added information for Iowa. Just a few pieces of info about ditch 166 / Briggs Woods -- The photo on the main page there was taken by me, of Jayd Janovich around 1996 or 97 and is actually the third ledge. Since the last time I saw the ledge around 2003, there has been considerable erosion lowering the drop height. I had to laugh when I saw the photo of the "unintentional mystery move" because that was a feature back then too. In fact, we lost one of the Ioaw State University Kayak Club's best paddles there on that trip for exactly that reason. And I've spent a fair amount of time pinned to the bottom of that rapid myself.

Anyway, keep the faith. Nice to see there's someone still trying to kayak Iowa.

Summary of Gauge Readings

No gauge. Flow depends on localized rain. Generally runnable in spring & early summer or after heavy localized rains.

Go to the NOAA site and check rainfall totals for Fort Dodge or Webster City. An average of .05"/hour for two days will provide plenty of water.

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment

No Gage


Directions Description

Ignore the automatically created 'shuttle directions', since this is a short park-and-huck/park-and-play. Instead, use the text-entry box below to input your home (or other starting) address, to get drive time, distance, and directions to this location.


No Accident Reports







Steve Weliver