Feather, S. Fork, California, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||154 fpm|
|So. Feather Below Little Grass Valley|
|dream-479||180 - 500 cfs||IV-V||01h06m||5 cfs (too low)|
The South Fork Feather from the little Grass Valley Reservoir to the South Fork Diversion is a Lost Sierra Jewel that was discovered, or rediscovered, in 2004. Even though this reach has flows every fall when the utility draws down Little Grass Valley Reservoir, little was known about the run due to its remote nature. It takes roughly an hour to get to the put-in from either Oroville or Quincy, the two closest metropolises. The foreboding views from the dam down into the first gorge likely scared off early would be paddlers from this reach. What they did not know is that below this gorge, which is still a portage fest for most, is a classic run with many beautiful granite gorges and high quality whitewater. South Fork Water and Power, the utility that operates the Dam, has been more than willing to work with AW to schedule these flows so that they work for the paddling community. This project has been going through FERC relicensing since 2003. As part of that process South Fork Water and Power has agreed to schedule boatable releases from Little Grass Valley reservoir into the South Feather each fall.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.2||Trash Can Falls||N/A|
|2.6||Morneau's More Nose||IV|
|3.0||Live and Left Live||IV|
|3.2||Left Over Postage||IV+|
|4.3||Stump the Chumps||IV+|
|5.1||South Fork Falls|
This is a 20 to 30 foot falls in the middle of the top gorge. Rusty Sage broke his boat after running the falls and landing in three feet of water. The bottom is said to be shallow all the way across the base of the falls. None the less, some boaters are successfully running this drop. If you are tempted to try it, you should thouroghly explore the landing first.
The portage is high on the right bank and requires catching a small eddy above the falls.
After about one mile into the run, you will come to the second gorge. This gorge contains a number of class IV ledge drops with several nice boofs. Boat scouting should be reasonable for many paddlers.
This is a rather innocuous looking drop with a very sticky hole at the bottom. If you don't get your nose up, you won't punch the hole, hence the name. Shawn Morneau took a nasty beating here during the flow study.
Post Creek enters on river right at approximately river mile 3.5. This spot is easy to recognize because of the large log that crosses the river just below the confluence. From this location a trail on river right leads up to FS Road 21N65 . The hike out requires about 30 minutes. This access location can be used for emergency egress or as an early takeout location. This take out also reduces the shuttle distance considerably.