The highwater horror stories of an experienced crew from Jackson Hole kept this remarkable Class V+ run quiet for several years. In 2001, Tyler and Travis Tollefson put on this section and found several stunning drops tucked into the secluded 4.5 mile run between the Chief Joseph Trailhead and the Fox Creek Campground. The rapids are short and extremely steep with several clean waterfalls ranging from 12 to 25 feet. All the major drops are high quality and definitely deserve their V+ rating. Though never more than a couple of miles from the road, this run boasts a very remote feel.
The sound of approaching whitewater should be treated with caution throughout, as there are several mandatory portages of life-threatening cascades and gnarly sieves. As with all sections of the mighty Clarks Fork, it would be very easy to drop one eddy too far and find yourself in a very unpleasant situation. Scout often. With the exception of the final 1/2 mile consisting of very fast and continuous class IV-V, this stretch is the epitome of pool-drop character. Between the chaotic drops, pure mountain waters fill deep, emerald green pools teaming with trout. Cliff walls of broken granite and dense green forest line the shore and jagged peaks can be seen towering above the treetops. This is classic grizzly country, so keep your eyes peeled.
There is a price to pay for the great waterfalls and superlative views, however. Portages are numerous, and the only thing thicker than the underbrush is the ferocious swarms of blood sucking mosquitoes. Stix and Stones is truly a grand adventure. Go early, expecting stout drops, gorgeous landscapes, and constant adversity. You will be amply rewarded.
PICK UP A MONTANA SURF GUIDEBOOK IF YOU ARE COMING TO THIS AREA!
The various reaches of the Clarks Fork Drainage:Styx and Stones (Class V+/VI),The Upper (Class IV/V+),Honeymoon (Class IV/V+),The Box (Class V+/VI),Lower (Class IV/V), andCrandall Creek (Class IV).
There is a correlation between the Clark's Fork gauge at Belfry and this run. Basically, you are looking for 750-800 on the Belfry as a minimum, and 1500 as a max. If you can't tell from sight about what this stretch is flowing at the put-in, please stay off it.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Lat/longitude coordinates of the putin and takeout are approximate.
Barry on Chickenhead
Barry Bohrer on Chickenhead Falls
Alex in Dead Moose Falls
Dan Crain Cleaning Chickenhead Falls
Dan Crain in Unnamed V
Kyle below Portage
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Cody, Wyoming - This August 19 & 20 the Wild West Paddle Club is hosting the 2017 Wild West River Fest in Cody, Wyoming. In celebration of the beautiful Shoshone River, the Fest has events for everyone - Slalom Race, Class II Sprint, Shoshone Canyon Boater Cross, and many other fun activities for the whole family! Weekend festivities are free to the public, with the exception of race registration fees for competitors. You can find a full schedule here and all competitors need to register online in advance.
The National Forest Service is currently in the process of implementing a new river management plan for the Wild and Scenic Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River. The USFS proposes to maintain all exisiting designated roads but take steps to curtail off-road use that is damaging ecological and recreational values of the river corridor. Today, American Whitewater submitted a letter to the USFS in support of their proposed actions.
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