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Difficulty IV
Length 4 Miles
Flow Range 500 - 3000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 32 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/30/2014 11:18 pm

River Description

General: Edwards to Purdons is a fun Class IV pool-drop run through a small, roadless river canyon. It is 4 miles long and usually has water in the winter and spring. The run is probably a little more difficult than Chamberlain Falls and a little easier than Giant Gap (both local Class IV runs on the North Fork American). Edwards to Purdons is along a pretty stretch of river with some great granite ledges for sun bathing.

Flows: The run is best around 1000 to 1500 cfs (6.5 to 7.5 feet). At this flow, there are lots of small waves and holes with good opportunities for boofing. Minimal flow is around 500 cfs. At this low a flow, the run gets pretty bony. Be sure to stay upright. At higher flows, things start moving faster and some large holes develop. Most people don't run it above 2500 cfs as the shuttle takes longer than the run and a lot of the fun rapids wash out.

Rapids: There is a pretty good surf wave just downstream from the bridge. Close after that is a short series of rapids with a sneaky hole on river left that sometimes convinces boaters to walk back to the put in (there is a short trail from the put in to the Spring Creek confluence on river right). Halfway down the run is a river wide boulder sieve that may be run on the right. The "old broken dam" referred to by Holbek and Stanley washed away in the 97 flood. There is no longer any trace of the dam or its nasty rebar. All that is left is a clean fun rapid.

Shuttle: The shuttle is fairly long (45 minute each way) and requires a high clearance vehicle or good skills dodging rocks in the road. It may be done on the south side of the river or on the north side of the river. The north side shuttle is longer, has longer dirt sections, but avoids the worst section of Purdon Road. People sometimes drive to the takeout from the south (coming from Nevada City) and then drive the shuttle on the north side of the river.

To run the shuttle on the south side of the river, take Highway 49 north from Nevada City. Go 0.3 miles past the split with Highway 20 and turn right on North Bloomfield Road (at the firestation). Follow North Bloomfield 0.6 miles to a "T" intersection. To get to the put in (Edwards), turn right at the "T" and go about 6 miles down to the river. To get to the take out (Purdons), turn left at the "T" and follow Purdon Road about 7 miles to the river.

To get to the take out from the north side, take Highway 49 north from Nevada City across the South Yuba and turn right on Tyler Foote Road. Go about 3 miles and turn right at Mother Trucker's on Purdon Road. Go 2 miles on Purdon and turn left on Purdon (dirt) where it junctions with Murphy (pavement). Follow Purdon Road 1.6 miles down to the river. There's parking and a reasonable trail to the river just downstream of the bridge on river right. To get to the put in on the north side, drive back up Purdon Road to Tyler Foote. Stop at Mother Trucker's and get an organic veggie snack for lunch. Turn right on Tyler Foote and go about 4 miles to North Columbia. Go through "town" and turn right on Grizzly Hill Road. It is marked by the "Grizzly Hill Gravel Company" sign. (Note that "Mapblast" suggests using Lake City Road instead of Grizzly Hill Road; Lake City takes a little longer, but works okay). Follow Grizzly Hill down about 2 miles to the junction with North Bloomfield Road. Turn right on North Bloomfield and follow it about 1 mile to the river. Cross the bridge and park uphill on the left. Look in the bushes to find a nice trail down to the river upstream of the bridge. For those with only one vehicle, there is also a trail on river left the entire length of the run.

Local Info: The South Yuba River received Wild and Scenic status January 2001. This was due to the outstanding efforts of SYRCL, the local river conservation group. Their site has nice photos of the South Yuba and information on local river issues. Become a member and you'll get praise from the river gods.

Camping/Motels: Local camping is limited. If you stay on someone's land without permission, you may get shot. The South Yuba Campground is near the put in, but is only officially open during the summer. To get there from Edwards, go north on the dirt road about 1 mile and follow North Bloomfield Road toward the right. The campground is a half mile down the road. There are a number of motels in the Nevada City/Grass Valley area. The Outside Inn is nice, relatively inexpensive (for Nevada City) and has some kitchen units. There are restaurants within walking distance and it caters to mountain bikers and other atheletes.

California Boating Bible: Lars Holbek and Chuck Stanley; "The Best Whitewater in California"

Other California Boating Sites:
Dream Flows
California Creekin

Rapid Descriptions


Gage Descriptions

Check river flows at Jones Bar Gauge.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

Success on the Yuba!

Megan Hooker

Culminating a six-year effort, American Whitewater has reached significant flow agreements for the Yuba watershed. These agreements were memorialized in the amended license applications filed with FERC by the Nevada Irrigation District and Pacific Gas & Electric Company. We look forward to seeing you enjoying improved flows in the Yuba watershed! 


Paul Martzen


Thomas O'Keefe


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193021 05/08/09 Paul Martzen n/a
1203972 12/30/14 Thomas O'Keefe photo added