Clarks Fork Yellowstone - 1. Styx and Stones

Clarks Fork Yellowstone, Wyoming, US


1. Styx and Stones (Chief Joseph Trailhead to Fox Creek Campground)

Usual Difficulty V+ (for normal flows)
Length 4.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 210 fpm

Kyle below Portage

Kyle below Portage
Photo of Kyle Mccullen by David Schroeder taken 07/15/03 @ Medium

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Clarks Fork Yellowstone River nr Belfry MT
usgs-06207500 1.50 - 5.50 ft V+ 01h01m 1.24 ft (too low)

River Description

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.


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), and
Crandall Creek (Class IV).

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2008-05-26 13:52:43


Rapid Descriptions

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