Silver Creek, S.Fork - Icehouse Dam to Junction Reservoir

Silver Creek, S.Fork, California, US


Icehouse Dam to Junction Reservoir (Ice House )

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 11 Miles
Avg. Gradient 75 fpm
Max Gradient 110 fpm

Last Gorge on the Ice House run

Last Gorge on the Ice House run
Photo of Chris Shackleton, Sue Norman, Justin States by Last Gorge on the Ice House Run taken 05/01/04 @ 400

River Description

This section of the South Fork of Silver Creek is significantly different in character than most other runs in the Sierra. Its 75 feet per mile gradient is surprisingly low for a run at 5000. The river channel is much more accessible in this section than in the steep canyons below Junction Reservoir. The reach is also unique in that the nine-mile shuttle is actually shorter than the 11.2-mile river reach. Most of the reach is in the area burned by the 1992 Cleveland Fire, which diminishes the natural beauty of the run and has created wood hazards in the river. As the trees grow back, the aesthetics of this reach will continue to improve.

If you choose to put-in at the dam (google map) the first rapid, named Pea Shooter during the flow study, starts the run off with a bang. The water released from the base of Ice House Dam, projects a forceful stream about 150 feet downstream of the release outlet. This makes entering the first rapid rather exciting. Several boaters during the flow study chose to portage this rapid. Below Pee Shooter, this first section was one of the only rapids on the run that seemed very rocky or œboney at 400cfs. Shortly below the stream flow gauge, the boaters encountered several class IV rapids the last of which is clean on the far right. The next mile of the run is class II/III until a short class IV section just above the beginning of the Cleveland Fire burn area at river-mile 2.1. In this section there are two class IV rapids and one class IV+ that has several ledges that lead into substantial hole. The next eight miles are very continuous class III with very few distinct rapids but an amazing number of surf waves. The run changes character again at river-mile 6, just above Chicken Hawk Springs. Here the run enters a mini gorge and there are several large logs spanning the river. The amount of wood in the river increased throughout this section during the flow study, particularly in the area below Chicken Hawk Springs. While it is possible to maneuver around numerous other logs, many of these logs are quite mobile and will continue to move from year to year. The last mile of the run contains several class IV rapids, including a river wide ledge that is generally run on the right. Just below this final rapid is the Bryant Springs Road Bridge. You can either take out on the right below the bridge or finished the run by padding approximately 10 minutes across Junction Reservoir to the boat ramp area.


Other sources of information:
Wet State


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-06-15 05:35:30

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Pee ShooterN/APhoto
0.4Gauging WeirN/A
0.6Junior ChamberlainN/APhoto
2.1Triple DropIV+Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Pee Shooter (Class N/A)

Pee Shooter

Pee Shooter
Photo by Dave Steindorf taken 01/05/19

Paddle right out of the eddie into the spray coming out of the dam valve and into the Pee Shooter. Long bouncy rapid. Exciting way to start the run.

Gauging Weir (Class N/A, Mile 0.4)

River Wide Gauging Weir. 

Rocks (Class III, Mile 0.5)

This is the begining of the steepest section of the upper run down to Ice House Road.

Ruckus (Class N/A, Mile 0.5)


Photo by Dave Steindorf taken 01/05/19

A busy little rapid.  Tight eddie catch at the bottom before the next drop.  Generally run river right, eddie left

Junior Chamberlain (Class N/A, Mile 0.6)

Junior Chamberlain

Junior Chamberlain
Photo by Dave Steindorf taken 01/05/19

Junky boulder pile on the left.  Nice slab grind down the right.  This is the last rapid on the upper section.

Triple Drop (Class IV+, Mile 2.1)

Triple Drop

Triple Drop
Photo by Dave Steindorf taken 06/26/18 @ 500 cfs

Big Rapid with a nasty hole at the bottom.

Tree's (Class IV, Mile 2.3)


Photo by Dave Steindorf taken 06/26/18

River wide ledge.  Run on the left or right.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 25 2018 (204 days ago)
valentinescott (157799)
Ran it 6/23/18 at 500 cfs. Fun and fast. Still a bit shrubby along the banks. Very few eddies.
Launched at the campground at the bridge a mile or so below the dam. Big river-wide log just
upstream of the campground. Two semi-submerged logs just downstream in slow moving water sections.
Floated easily over the top. This same section is also choked with willow/alder, but manageable.
Then things open up. That was the last of the logs. Thanks AW. Pretty fun river segment.