Huntington Creek, Left Fork, Utah, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV+(V) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||90 fpm|
|Max Gradient||110 fpm|
2014-2015 Update: A wildfire has affected a great deal of this
drainage, killing thousands of trees. Subsequent avalanches moved hundreds, probably thousands of
logs into the river. In June 2014, a group reported extensive portaging. A subsequent high
water event (probably on Sept 27, 2014), appears to have consolidated the majority of these logs
into 3 enormous logjams, each a couple hundred yards long, approximately one every mile when
hiking up from the campground. There is also a new footbridge below the campground, which is very
low to the water, and will be a mandatory portage at all levels, unless high water moves it. So
there are a minimum of 4 mandatory portages in the last 3.5 miles of this run, a couple of which
are around 200 yards long, as well as some other logs that will require heads up boating,
microeddy catching, and portaging. The abundance of standing dead trees in the area, and the
avalanche paths entering from river right, will undoubtedly change the run on a regular basis.
When in doubt, scout.
Pre-2014 run description:
This run is a nice addition to a weekend spent on Cottonwood Creek or Ferron Creek, although LFH has more wood, and therefore is more serious, requiring wood avoidance, micro-eddy catching and portaging, similar to most Uintas runs. It's also possible to catch in the Fall as they release more water from the Upper Huntington reservoirs.
The take out is the day parking area at the upstream end of the Left Hand Fork Camp Ground accessed from UT-31.
To reach the put-in, head west on UT-31 past Electric Lake and Cleveland Reservoirs. Turn South
onto FR-014 (Miller Flat Road.) Theres a large parking lot where this road leaves UT-31. There
are a couple of options for a put-in. The easiest is to follow FR-014 to Miller Flat reservoir
and follow the rough track to the north edge of the Dam. Despite redefining minimum flow levels,
this really is pretty convenient. Other options include putting in where the outflow of
Cleveland, Huntington and Rolfson come together. There is one boulder sieve before the confluence
with Miller Flat Creek.
If you put in on Miller Flat Creek, you'll scrape down for ¾'s of a mile to the confluence. Immediately above the confluence is a nice 8 foot waterfall. There are three ledges in the first mile below the confluence. Most can be boat scouted. There's one more ledge drop that you encounter just before the stream leaves the meadow and cuts into the canyon. From here out, there are a number of low-angle slides, boulders, and plenty of wood. Note that at flows above 150 cfs it would be very hard to stop above some of the numerous logs across the creek (one autumn we literally portaged 20 or 30 times.) Higher flows in the spring of 2005 helped to clean up some or this wood, but there are still some large trees in the river. Of course, the only constant is change so please paddle safe. A trail follows the stream on the north side that allows for easy portaging and exits should problems arise.
There's a lot of free forest service camping in the area as well as developed (user fee) campgrounds along UT-31. Once you leave the town of Huntington to the east or Fairview to the North, there are no services.
Fun Fact: The waterfall on the cover of the second edition of the guide book is the drop on Miller Flats Creek immediately above the confluence.
The Forks of the Huntington campground is open again in 2017: