Sixth Water Creek, Utah, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||250 fpm|
|SIXTH WATER CRK AB SYAR TUN NR SPRINGVILLE, UT|
|usgs-10149000||20 - 200 cfs||IV||00h56m||24.8 cfs (running)|
While the completion of the Diamond Fork project killed the best run on Sixth Water Creek, the
engineers didnÂt get it all. At the terminus of the Strawberry Tunnel, the Unborn Soul
park and huck extravaganza continues to entertain paddlers. The run consists of spillway, 10
footer, a triple tiered 25 footer, and a few smaller drops below. Some make the argument that the
run is a low skilled plop and drop, but accidents can happen. In previous years, there has been
one well pinned boat lodged in the bottom of the big drop. Warm-up runs are possible on the lower
drops. While you canÂt really take a strong boofstroke on rocks, none of the landings are
very deep so avoid straight in pencil landings. Have fun and be safe
Access to 6th water is a bit of an art. You can get there via dirt roads from Strawberry Reservoir, the RayÂs Valley Road, Diamond Fork (since itÂs been reopened) and Hobble Creek canyon in Springville. For paddlers in Salt Lake County and North, itÂs easiest via Strawberry. Make your way to beautiful Heber, head east on US 40 to White River/Strawberry Rd (on the west side of the lake). Head South on this to Fire Road 029 (it's actually signed as 653) on the left. Sometimes this isnÂt marked Â but this dirt road leaves the pavement on a bend about 1 mile south of Bryant Fork Campground and climbs towards a grove of aspen. If you look closely, youÂll be able to small brown shack structure right before the turn. The road is passable by most stock high clearance vehicles. Follow 029 to the top of the divide and continue down hill (kind of doubles back) as you descend, youÂll see the small pond at the end of the tunnel. Drive down the very rough 4x4 road (with a gate) and park where ever Â youÂll have to hike the boat a bit up to the water. Just a note, for whatever reason, the soil on the north side of the divide becomes ultra slick after a rain. You can luckily get cell phone reception from the top of the divide...
Coming from Diamond Fork, take a right onto FR 029 (not sure what it's marked as on this side) about a mile after the Hawthorn Campground. Follow this small 4x4 track that leads to the tunnel. When I drove this road in 2003, it was deeply rutted and one Utah County paddler totaled his Subaru Impreza trying to make it in there. Obviously the Gazetteer will help on this quest.
In 2014, rumor has it the road is not passable from Strawberry. From Diamond Fork, Google Maps shows Diamond Fork Road as 029. Go 5.6 miles from 3 Forks Trailhead, then
take a right on 051, then go 1.5 miles, then
take a left on 715, then
go 5.4 miles to the gated spur road you hike in on. Park so that others can drive by. Its about .4 miles in to the pond, which is a fairly long way to shoulder a creeker. After some construction, the spillway is a harsher drop than it used to be, and some backs have been hurt. You can put in right below the spillway if desired.
A "longer" version of this short run can be done, to get the last 6 footer. Its maybe a mile, and the hike back feels long. Looking at Google Maps, it looks like you could set a shuttle in the vicinity of Dip Vat Creek, but I haven't done it.
Running all the way to FR051 would complete the
upper section of Sixth Water. There is undoubtedly wood; the section below that last 6 footer is
almost never done.
Below FR051 is the Celestial Gorge section, which rarely has enough water to do. This is a remote, serious section, with possible riverwide wood, some gorged in sections, tight boulder gardens, and a riverwide boulder sieve at low levels.