Goose Creek - Saddle Road to South Fork Smith confluence

Goose Creek, California, US


Saddle Road to South Fork Smith confluence

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Length 5.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 92 fpm
Max Gradient 115 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-11532500 3000 - 9000 cfs V 00h55m 2440 cfs (too low)

River Description


Flows:  Flows in Goose Creek are estimated to be about 1/10th that of the gauge shown above. Thus, when the gauge shows flows within the minimum to maximum range of 3,000 to 9,000 cfs, then actual flows in Goose Creek should be in an estimated ideal range of 300-900 cfs. 


Goose Creek is a pristine run in the Smith drainage, that is worth the trouble of the short hike in.  The creek is divided into an upper and lower, the lower by itself is much more common.  The Upper is good too, and if you can combine them its a great day of boating.


Upper:  Getting to the Upper put in with enough daylight to finish the 12 mile run is the hardest part of the trip.  The road is commonly snowed in when there is water, and even when the road is driveable you have to hike 3 miles (8 if you are not willing to do a half mile bushwhack) to get to the put in bridge.

Beginning of the Upper hike (the burlier your vehicle, and the more willing you are to scratch it up, the shorter the hike): 41.5922, -123.8766

Upper put In: 41.5816, -123.9093


The upper section starts off straight forward with good scenery, picking up to class IV with the occasional ledge.  This character goes on for some time.  About halfway through the upper run is Arn's Falls, preceded by a sliding rapid with a ledge.  Arn's has a tough lead in to a clean 10-15' drop with a hole and pockets on each side.  This drop is easier at lower levels.

More whitewater leads to Double Walls Falls, which will send most paddlers portaging left.  Sustained intermediate whitewater continues for miles down to the lower put in.  It is possible to hike out here, but it takes longer than just finishing the run and there are no notable indications of this location from the river.

Lower:  This section is more commonly done as the shuttle elevation is lower.  A 3.5 mile hike down a decommisioned road leads to a short final bushwhack to river level.  There are 4 notable rapids (Gander, Honker, and Ugly Duckling which are V- ish in nature), and many other easy to intermediate rapids.  The run can be done in about an hour if the group moves efficiently (not including the hike in).


The 4 larger rapids can all be scouted without much trouble, though the last one can sneak up on paddlers.


Beginning of the Lower hike: 41.66, -123.8913

Lower put In: 41.6485, -123.9078


Both runs take out at Stevens bridge over the SF Smith, and the shuttles takes place along the Go-Road.

In November 2018, there was wood present but there was only one wood portage, on the lower section and it was easy to see coming.


Other Information sources:

Oregon Kayaking

Darin Mcquoid

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-11-28 22:10:08

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

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