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Difficulty III-IV
Length 54 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 05/08/2020 1:03 pm

River Description

Big Creek is a beautiful creek that enters the Middle Fork Salmon just upstream of Impassable Canyon. The run is Class III+ or IV depending on water levels and wood. You can fly or even drive to put ins, or like most folks who run Big Creek, you can carry your boat up from the confluence and enjoy the final canyon section of the stream. You can run Big Creek if you have a Middle Fork Salmon permit, or can get a non-lottery permit for Big Creek so long as you don't camp on the Middle Fork. 

This section is requires a free non-lottery permit, which allows people to paddle out on the Middle Fork Salmon (without camping) and is closed to paddling during April, May, August, and September in an effort to reduce disturbance of spawning salmon. Review the rules and permit details here.  

Lat / Longitude data are very approximate.
Run includes 20 miles on Middle Fork; Permit required

Rapid Descriptions


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12 years ago

Attempted this run in July of 2008. Didn't get to finish it, but hope to go back. Lovely little canyon. We encountered 3 log portages above Beaver Creek, with little stopping room. There's a great camp river left a 1/4 mile above Beaver Creek. Shortly below Beaver is a nice gorge section with lots of linked up III-IV moves and some wood. This canyon is solid IV at medium flows. There's a mandatory portage (right) around a log at the beginning of this section, and the gorge is worth a scout from the trail on river left, at least to check for wood. Once below the portage at the top of the short canyon, the series of drops was clean, though there's wood around if you are off line or swimming. Below the gorge, there's lots of wood but we didn't find any portages between the gorge and Monumental bar. --Brian Vogt

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12 years ago

Beautiful run. Lots of trees/strainers in the upper section. Great fishing and lots of wildlife. No hot springs. Several cool rapids. Very enjoyable trip. We've done it 3 times over the last 10 years. Great Idaho wilderness experience for us PA boaters.

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Directions Description

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Middle Fork Salmon Mine Proposed (ID)

Kevin Colburn

A mining company has proposed a large scale mining exploration operation 3 miles inside of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.  The mining operation would take place in the Big Creek watershed, which enters the Middle Fork Salmon at the beginning of Impassable Canyon.  American Whitewater filed preliminary comments on the proposal this month, and will alert paddlers to additional comment opportunities later this spring. 

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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


Todd Hoffman


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1214896 05/08/20 Kevin Colburn updated description
1214897 05/08/20 Kevin Colburn updated permit
1214898 05/08/20 Kevin Colburn updated description
1199649 03/20/11 Todd Hoffman Updated Reach Description
1210310 09/06/18 Kevin Colburn permit info
1210311 09/06/18 Kevin Colburn description update
1210312 09/06/18 Kevin Colburn difficulty
1190312 04/30/08 n/a n/a