Cache Creek - 2) Bear Creek Confluence to Rumsey

Cache Creek, California, US


2) Bear Creek Confluence to Rumsey (Rowboat Rapid Run)

Usual Difficulty III (for normal flows)
Length 9 Miles
Avg. Gradient 25 fpm
Max Gradient 25 fpm

Cache Creek

Cache Creek
Photo of Steve Service by Randy Hodges taken 1997 @ 800 CFS

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
cdec-RUM 500 - 6000 cfs III 01h45m 23 cfs (too low)

River Description

This is the standard Cache Creek run. On any given summer weekend thousands of people float this stretch in inner tubes or "Kamakazee Rafts" (So called because they are manned by people with little or no training who seem bent on running over YOU.)

During the Spring or on Weekdays, this is a very pleasant run. The crowds are pretty much absent and the water is still playful.

The big advantage of this run is that it often has water when almost nothing else does. The water is released to meet the needs of farmers in the Sacramento River Delta. You can expect reliable flows during much of the late spring and into August and usually September.

The water can come from two places. The North Fork water flows out of Indian Valley Reservoir (see the description of the "Wilderness" run) and is clear and cold while the water from "Clear" Lake is warm, cloudy, and often, smelly. Generally, the water is a mix of the two and the water quality is acceptable.

There are several possible put-ins and take-outs. All of the land bordering the first 6 miles of this run is open to the public. The most common run puts in at the "Bear Creek Confluence" (a.k.a. The "Rusty Truck") and takes out at "Camp Haswell" (a.k.a. The "Boy Scout Camp") - This puts you in above the first and takes you out below the second class III rapid.

While this run has many fun rapids, only two are Class III. The first is called "County Line" as it straddles the line between Colusa and Yolo Counties. It is the second rapid below the put in. It involves a sharp drop through a hole and a left faching 90 degree turn. Fun stuff.

Here is a link to an aerial photo of the Bear Creek Put-In (Upper right) - The "County Line" Rapid is at the lower right.

Bear Creek Put-in and County Line Rapid

The second Class III drop is called "Rowboat Rapid" although the local outfitters call it "Mother." It was named "Rowboat" because a boat was lodged in it for years that had been carried down from Clear Lake. The boat finally disappeared for good about 7 - 10 years ago. This is the rapid below the Highway 16 bridge at close to mile 5. This is a fun and steep multi-part drop. Most scout it on the left by pulling out under the bridge.

Here is the aerial view of Rowboat Rapid:

Rowboat (a.k.a. "Mother")

There are also numerous II and II+ rapids along this whole stretch. Camp Rapid (Just below the public campground - Mile 1.5 or so), Taft's Tumble (Just above the "Low Water Bridge" - Mile 2.5), the unnamed rapid just below the low water bridge (About mile 3), and Rock Garden (In left-hand channel just below Camp Haswell - Mile 5.8) all are II+ rapids and often cause beginners trouble.

There are play spots all along this route. A particularly good "Park-and-Play" spot is right below the public campground. There are two consecutive holes where people with short boats can show-off.

Other information sources: California Creekin - Cache Creek.

BRT Insights: Cache Creek guide

Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District

Cache Creek Natural Area, Ukiah Field Office, BLM

Cache Creek Conservancy

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-05-14 02:22:15

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.3County Line RapidIII
3.0Low Water BridgeN/APortage Hazard
5.0Rowboat rapidIII
5.9Camp HaswellN/ATakeout Access
9.0Rumsey BridgeN/ATakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Low Water Bridge (Class N/A, Mile 3.0)

Mandatory Portage.   Take out at a beach on the left to carry boats around this bridge.  The creek flows through pipes under the bridge.

Camp Haswell (Class N/A, Mile 5.9)

Commonly used take- out on river right

Rumsey Bridge (Class N/A, Mile 9.0)

Take out on river left and follow the trail on the upstream side of the bridge.  There is limited parking on the upstream side of the road.  When that is full, park back on highway 16.  Do not park on the other side of the road or the other side of the bridge. 

In 2010, this traditional take out was blocked and posted no trespassing by the landowner.  In 2012 the take out was reopened and a formal trail was constructed to the river on the upstream river left side of the bridge.  This was largely due to the ongoing efforts of a number of boaters to talk with the land owner and negotiate an understanding. 

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