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Difficulty IV-V
Length 16 Miles
Flow Range 1200 - 3000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 49 minutes ago 19.8 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 01/19/2006 2:34 pm

River Description

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.

Rapid Descriptions


Gage Descriptions

The Potlatch gage can be used as a very rough prediction of Big Bear's flow. 2000 is a high flow, and 1200 is probably a good guess at a minimum. In general, the stream needs to be bankfull at the put in

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




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Idaho Proposes Registration Fee for Non-Motorized Boats

John Gangemi

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Idaho is proposing a $13 registration fee for non-motorized boats greater than 7 feet in length. Under this registration fee proposal all kayaks and rafts on Idaho waters would be required to have a registration sticker fixed to the bow of each boat greater than 7 feet in length. Stickers would not be transferable between boats. Out of state boaters would be required to comply as well.

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Can You Taste Victory?

American Whitewater

FERC revokes Preliminary Permit for
hydropower project on Boundary Creek in
Northern Idaho.

Kevin Colburn


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190311 01/19/06 Kevin Colburn n/a