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Difficulty II-III(IV)
Length 13 Miles
Gauge BATTLE C BL COLEMAN FISH HATCHERY NR COTTONWOOD CA
Flow Range 800 - 10000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 54 minutes ago 314 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 10/22/2014 9:54 pm

River Description


© 1996 by Bill Tuthill, tut@netcom.com

This surprisingly good run is located just the other side of the Sacramento river from Red Bluff. The whitewater consists of nearly continuous class II-III rapids and a class IV rapid, tapering off near the end. Scenery and solitude are good, so it is surprising that this river didn't make it into any guidebook. This run is superior in all respects to Cache Creek and Stony Creek, although further from population centers. Rapids are numerous, water quality is good, playspots are plentiful, and the season is long.

Hourly flow information (take-out) is available at DWR's CDEC Web site (code BAT). The description below was compiled at 835 cfs, a common flow during spring runoff season. Runs are possible at higher flows, and down to 800 cfs. Technical at low flows, with rough volcanic rocks.
  • Tight rapids for about 2 miles on the S Fork, where the flow was about 33% of that at take-out. Watch out for a brush-choked drop at a R bend about 1.5 miles down.
  • At the confluence, the N Fork approximately doubles the flow. The N Fork is subject to diversions, and its trees are closer to the river than on the S Fork. It has been run at low flows and described as class III with a few portages, but kayakers have been turned back at higher flows.
  • About 1 mile below, the river curves L thru a class III+ rapid, and then Morgan Creek (? maps disagree) comes in on the L.
  • About 2 miles below that, there is an old broached dam (or bridge) with an extant tunnel on river R. Shortly below is the only class IV on this run (scout or portage R bank).
  • Fun class III rapids continue for another 2 miles. Most have short pools in between, although one is continuous for over 1/2 mile. Below there is a beautiful spring-fed mini-falls on the R (probably drinkable, purify to be sure).
  • Less intense class III rapids continue for another 2 miles until a huge horseshoe bend. Below that Spring Branch creek comes in on the L, and rapids ease to class II. Somewhere in there a double pipeline crosses the river. Evidence of cattle grazing becomes evident.
  • After another 2 miles, an artificial-looking waterfalls with lots of water (perhaps overflow from Coleman Forebay) comes in on the R. Shortly below is another inlet from tubes of a power generation station. These diversions add 200-300 cfs to the gauged flow.
  • After another 1.5 miles there is a low-head dam, which at 835 cfs can be safely run on the far L. Take out either above or below the low-head dam.
  • HAZARD: Half a mile below take-out is a two-tier concrete diversion dam with drowning-machine reversal below. Do not go near the edge!
To reach take-out from I-5 N of Red Bluff, go E on Gas Point Rd, bear L on Ball's Ferry Rd, turn R on Ash Creek Rd, cross the Sacramento river, then turn R on Jelly's Ferry Rd, and soon L on Coleman FH Rd. Continue past the Fish Hatchery to the end of the county maintained road, and park near a square building covered with grafitti.

To reach put-in from there, return to Ash Creek Rd, turn R and go uphill, turn R on Wildcat Rd, bear R at a junction, then descend and cross the N Fork of Battle Creek. You could put in there, or continue to the S Fork ahead (as in the description). AAA Feather/Yuba map recommended.

Old-timers say that higher runs on the N Fork are have generated many "horror stories" of portage fests. Nearby Antelope Creek offers a more scenic, slightly easier, but longer (perhaps overnight) run.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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sean walsh
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13 years ago

great run. very continous and creeky class 3. lots of action until around mile 6/7. here you get an easy class 4 and then class 2 until the take out. I can confirm this run is much better than most of the class 2/3- rivers ive been on in the area. I did the run solo on january 7. I left sacramento at 3am, dropped my bike at the fish hatchery at 630, and was at the put in by 715. The run took me about 3 hours with no play and 2 scouts. the bike shuttle took 2 hours going very slow. I had about 1000 cfs on the gauge at the take out (hatchery).

Gage Descriptions

Hourly flow information (take-out) is available at DWR's CDEC Web site (code BAT). The description below was compiled at 835 cfs, a common flow during spring runoff season. Runs are possible at higher flows, and down to 800 cfs. Technical at low flows, with rough volcanic rocks.

Permits

NA

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

Alerts

News

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Paul Martzen

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1203752 10/22/14 Paul Martzen New put in & take out coordinates
1193096 03/08/02 n/a n/a