Big Bear, Idaho, US
Highway 8 Bridge (West of Deary) to Kendrick High School
||IV-V (for normal flows)
The drop below the big one on Big Bear Creek
The drop below the big one on Big Bear CreekPhoto of Ellis Cusksey by Zack Sears taken 01/14/05 @ 2000
Big Bear Creek starts off as an improbably small stream flowing through a pasture. Quickly however
it begins to drop over small basalt ledges and gains size. Be alert for barbed wire fences from the
beginning to the end of this run. Big Bear flows swiftly for several miles through a shrubby
floodplain, with numerous small rapids. Following a more open section on the right floodplain,
several miles from the put in, a dangerous fence is strung taught across the creek.
Finally, the stream enters a wooded (although heavily timbered) granite gorge and the quality of
the rapids really picks up. Class III and IV rapids, continue for a couple miles until the big
falls. You really can't miss the big falls, although the lead-in is class III. Eddy out on the
right in a fairly small eddy. The line is down the right. Portage advice ranges from the bare steep
slope on river left, to a high portage on river right, to a low portage using some rope on river
right. Next time, without a doubt, I am going to try the low portage on the right. The area around
the falls is spectacular.
The drop below the falls is a great 6-7 foot boof with a log in it. Scout right. Shortly after the
falls you leave the granite and the rapids change to basalt. Relatively steep, fast, and
occassionally chunky rapids roll on for several more miles, and ease shortly before the take out.
We scouted one particularly big rapid in this lower section, and were thankful we did.
16 miles is a long trip! Big Bear is a fun, full-day adventure that offers countless and almost
nonstop rapids once you enter the canyon. Start early, beware of a nasty moose, keep your eyes
peeled for fences, and enjoy.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2006-01-19 14:34:53