Deadwood - 1. Deadwood Reservoir to End of the Road

Deadwood, Idaho, US


1. Deadwood Reservoir to End of the Road (The Canyon)

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 14.6 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-13236500 400 - 2000 cfs IV-V 00h30m 52.5 cfs (too low)

River Description

See Idaho: the Whitewater State by G. Amaral (Watershed Books, 1990).
Lat / Longitude data are very approximate.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-06-28 07:27:53

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 14 2008 (3778 days ago)
x (1)
Brian Vogt -- Ran the Deadwood River in July of 2008 at a low-medium flow of 500 or so. This was a
great IV level. No clean V on the run. The ranger station out of Lowman has good info on the best
routes to access the putin. We headed up Canyon Creek out of Lowman, through Big Meadows/Bear
Valley, then dropped down and around the reservoir. We had several portages; most for wood. There's
one right off the bat in the first 1/2 mile with few eddies. There's a IV broken ledge that kicks
off the whitewater. It was clean, as was double drop. Several of the good IVs are wood choked and
mandatory portages however. The V is just choked with a cats cradle of logs, and not readily
apparent from the river. The inner gorge and continuous III-IV below the one V drop was stellar.
The action below the bridge was also excellent. A big log jam has blown out in the lower run, and
it's obvious where. Be ready for some sketchy corners and wood for 1/2 mile below here as the old
log jam has filled the next section with logs. This is a stellar run -- one of the most scenic I've
seen in a long time. Highly recommended.
August 10 2004 (5211 days ago)
Christopher PajakDetails
Did this run, from reservoir to SF Payette confluence, August 2002 for the first time and then
again August 8, 2004. Both times absolutely fantastic. Potaged 4x in '02 and 7 or 8x the other day.
Point being, get as much local/recent info as possible and ALWAYS scout blind horizons or corners
especially in sections where the rapids get heavy. As of Aug 8th, 2004 there is a very serious log
hazard right around the corner from the big class V midway through the run in the IV+ runout rapid.
This log is impossible to get around, over, or under at 1000cfs. It is huge and will probably be
there for a while unless they release a few hundred more cfs. It is unlikely that you would see it
from river level until too late. Also, there two new blowout rapids that will probably change
significantly. Both are on the bottom half of the run, have created big pools above, conatin
considerable gravel, rocks, trees and debris. The second one, about three miles from the takeout,
is currently much worse with a highly constricted, steep channel on the far left and lots of
dangerous wood. We walked twice here. Still a favorite of mine, we even saw a huge black bear in
the section below the bridge that is one of the most fun continuous class IVish rapids I have ever
paddled. One more thing, if you are looking for a shuttle driver stop in the Garden Valley Chevron
station and ask Mike, he directed to me his unemployed friend Steve who was excited to ride up with
us and return our car to the takeout for $20 and some Jim Beam.
August 8 2003 (5579 days ago)
From BoaterTalk
Re: Anyone know about the Deadwood in Idaho?? by osteinle Aug 09 2003, 0:55 GMT New
Date: Aug 09 2003, 2:42 GMT
From: bobgedekoh

Hi Tarion,

The road to intermediate putin/takeout is washed out so you will have to the whole river from the
dam to the SF Payette. It is over 20 miles, but the river has fast current so it will take about
five hours. Takes an hour and a half to drive into the dam on the gravel road, so get a shuttle
driver if you can. Drive is spectacular, however. It is running over 900 cfs, contrary to what some
books suggest, this is not low, in fact to my mind it is moderately high and fairly pushy. The
water is very cold so take pogies, it comes off the bottom of a deep lake. Take a breakdown paddle
too since the run is very remote.

The run is mostly class 3-4, but there are a couple of more difficult sections and STRAINERS are a
significant hazzard.

A couple nig strainers/logjams lodged in ledge drops in the first third of the run will require
quick portages... usually on river right. These were fairly easy to see from above.

Also in the first third of the run... (last year) there was also a river wide log just under the
surface of the water in the middle of a class 3 flushy went the whole way across the
river and was hard to see from above. We managed to catch a small eddy on the right above it. Be
careful, it is hard to spot, and may have moved. Also, new strainers may also have appeared
anywhere on this river so always be very heads up. Strainers are clearly the biggest hazzard on the
Deadwood. There arent that many, but they can be nasty.

About half way down the run you will pass a bunch of huge dome shaped rocks on the right side of
the river (the water is flat here). Not too far after that there is a straightaway, then you can
tell that the river is going to turn right below the straightaway. There are a couple of ledgy
boulder drops in the straightaway, they almost always seem to contain nasty strainers. The boulders
are also undercut. These drops may or may not be runnable, look at them. Immediately after the
right turn there is a slide/flush with pinning/ piton potential a punchy hole at the bottom. Look
at it too and decide for yourselves. Some people portage this whole mess over the hill on the
right, there is the semblance of a portage trail here.

Just below the slide/ hole there is a long class IV rapid that last year had a tree near the bottom
that needs to be avoided. So eddy hop down this rapid and keep your eyes open. Again, it may have
moved, it was possible to catch an eddy and sneak around the tree on the left last year.

You will eventually go under a nice bridge...the road to this bridge is gone. The rest of the
river, (Lower Deadwood) alternates between easier and harder section but is generally less intense
the the Upper Deadwood. But there are some strainers here too, so dont get complacent. Look for
moose and bear on the lower section, we have seen both in the trees.

All in all a beautiful wilderness run. one of my favorites. The strainers are a bit of a worry, so
make sure you have a competent group and dont let your gaurd down.

I am making it sound nastier than it is, the Deadwood is certainly not nearly as difficult at the
NF Payette. Just dont underestimate the trees.

Have fun and let me know how it went.
July 29 2002 (5954 days ago)
Rob HeinemanDetails
The Deadwood road washed out years ago. The two Deadwood stretches must be run together, 23 Miles
IV-V, took me 6 hrs. at 700 CFS portaging two class V's, 2 logs, scouting 2 other rapids. Shuttle
road is slow; pay someone and start early. Water releases from the bottom - dress warm and bring
poagies or gloves.

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