This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV-V
Length 4 Miles
Flow Range CFS
Flow Rate as of: 19 minutes ago 797 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 03/20/2011 5:08 pm

River Description

Slate Creek runs through a very deep and steep canyon with a narrow and channelized stream bed. The rapids are mostly slides and steep ledge drops into very sticky holes. Logs are always a serious hazard, so don't run anything blind. Plan on plenty of out-of-boat scouting. The most difficult rapids can be portaged.

The section is generally runnable from early April to mid June, but the run off in the area varies greatly from year to year. Snow may impede access in the early season. Check with Avery Ranger Station for current conditions on the road numbers mentioned in the logistics section below.

The following maps are highly recommmeded:
Forest Service - St. Joe National Forest / Coeur d' Alene National Forest.
USGS - Mastadon Mountain 7.5 minute quadrangle.

From Interstate 90, exit at the Wallace, Idaho visitor's center. Work your way south through town following Placer Creek up a small canyon to road 456 (Placer Creek Road). Take 456 over Moon Pass (4,931') and down the N. Fork of the St. Joe to the town of Avery. From Avery, go roughly 7.5 miles downriver, past the Avery ranger station (not to be confused with the town of Avery) about 1 mile to the Slate Creek bridge takeout.

To get to the putin, take road 225 directly north of the Avery Ranger Station (look for the garbage dumpsters opposite the ranger station). Here the road climbs a steep open hillside to the canyon rim. Watch out for logging trucks on this section--they will crush you!!! On the rim, a large powerline crosses the canyon. Here the road forks and begins dropping. Where the road meets creek level there is a small turn out to the left which leads to a primitive campground with the ruins of an old miner's cabin. This is the putin.

While 4 wheel drive is not absolutely necessary for this run, it is recommended as the roads can be sloppy with snow and mud and small rock slides are not uncommon on the section just before the put in. If you're coming from Moscow or the South, best access is via St. Maries, Idaho. It's about 40 miles (all pavement) from St. Maries to Avery Ranger Station. Watch for Slate Creek to the north about five miles upriver from the Marble Creek interpretive site.

Planning Tools:
Forest Service Camping Guide
Gradient Chart - (by river mile)
Gradient Chart - (comparative)
Map of Idaho Panhandle
River Flow Forcast
Sattlelite Imagery
Snow Pack Report
USGS Gauge

There are several outstanding runs within a 30-mile radius of Avery, including the Skookum Canyon (class III-IV), Tumbledown (class III-IV) and Heller Creek (class IV) sections of the main St. Joe, plus Marble Creek (class III-IV) and the North Fork (class III). Also, access to the Little North Fork of the Clearwater (class IV) is from Avery via Fishook Creek.


Rapid Descriptions


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Matthias Fostvedt
6 years ago

Ran it May 4, 2013. We didn't check the gauge but it seemed like a good level. We portaged a couple ugly pour-overs and triple drop. Otherwise, it was great. Had a GoPro attached to my head. Here's the footage:

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Jake Zywicke
10 years ago

Ran it 5/14/09 with big smiles. Triple drop now has some wood hanging into the river just below the first drop. Lacking a saw, we could not remove them. Everything else boated very clean. The water level looked higher than pictures posted here, but the holes weren't incredibly sticky. Less water might possibly make them more abrupt and more sticky...any thoughts?

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Michael French
15 years ago

Todd & others, your new pics of Slate at considerably lower level than when we ran it clearly shows the dramatic difference the run is. The lower flows make each drop very distinctive, while at the higher flows they kind of blend together in a whitewater malestrom! Cool run either way. Thanks for the pics!

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Michael French
15 years ago

The painted gauge on NE side of bridge on piling is somewhat deceptive: If the Joe is quite high, so it will reflect on the gage as the backwater may falsely elevate the gauge even if Slate may not be running high. On the other hand, we ran Slate Sat 5/1/04 when the gauge was dry, well below 0 and the Joe was 4760cfs, yet Slate was similar in nature to when gauge read 1 ft? Difficult to say what the gauge really means.<br />

Gage Descriptions

Minimum level indicated (4,000 cfs) is on the St. Joe gauge at Calder. This is only a very rough indicator of when to look for Slate Creek to be running. Disregard the the hand painted guage on the upstream side of the Slate Creek bridge, it does not accurately measure flows. Minimum level is thigh deep or higher under the take out bridge. Predictive flows for the St. Joe and Calder are availalbe from the Northwest Rivers Forecast Center.

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



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AW Seeks Stream Protection in Idaho Panhandle

Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater recently prepared a report on the streams of the Idaho Panhandle that are eligible for Wild and Scenic designation based at least in part on their regionally or nationally significant recreational values. We have asked the Forest Service to find each of these streams eligible for Wild and Scenic designation and thus grant them interim protection.

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January Volunteer of the Month: Todd Hoffman! - Presented By Kokatat

Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater is pleased to recognize Todd Hoffman as our Volunteer of the Month for January, 2011.  River stewardship issues are really heating up right now in the Northern Rockies and Todd has been a big help, especially in Northern Idaho. Thanks Todd, and Congratulations!

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Idaho Proposes Registration Fee for Non-Motorized Boats

John Gangemi

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Idaho is proposing a $13 registration fee for non-motorized boats greater than 7 feet in length.  Under this registration fee proposal all kayaks and rafts on Idaho waters would be required to have a registration sticker fixed to the bow of each boat greater than 7 feet in length.  Stickers would not be transferable between boats.  Out of state boaters would be required to comply as well.

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Can You Taste Victory?

American Whitewater

FERC revokes Preliminary Permit for
hydropower project on Boundary Creek in
Northern Idaho.

Todd Hoffman


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1199653 03/20/11 Todd Hoffman Updated reach description and name.
1194997 05/20/09 Todd Hoffman
1195243 06/01/09 Todd Hoffman
1195249 06/01/09 Todd Hoffman
1198670 11/14/10 Matt Muir Added coords, abstract, sig photo, and lynx.
1193942 11/29/06 Todd Hoffman n/a