At moderate flows the Falls River is a fun run and an excellent river to build your skills on. Smooth boulders create countless nice eddies, small boofs, and surf holes, allowing paddlers to challenge themselves with Class IV moves in relatively low risk Class II and III rapids.
The run is mostly long, large, class 3+ wave trains at higher flows, and technical Class III boulder rapids at medium and lower flows. The longest rapid, half-mile, has a hole hidden at the end (look for a large basalt cliff on your right and a slight river left bend). There is a diversion dam that you must portage (it can be run at some levels) about 2/3 way down river. You can see the last major drop by a rock that sticks up right in the middle of the river, also a surprise at the bottom of a wave train. Run left (preferred) or right to avoid pourovers.
See also G. Amaral, Idaho: the Whitewater State (Watershed, 1992).
Lat/Longitude data are very approximate.
Directions: To the takeout: drive 4.5 miles east on Hwy 47 from Ashton ID. Turn right (south) and drive 1.5 miles to Kirkham bridge over Falls River. This is the takeout.
To reach the putin, drive east on "Reclamation road" past Squirrel cemetary (nice of them to build a cemetary for all those cute little squirrels that got run over!) 5.4 miles. Turn left (north) and drive a mile to the putin (bridge over Falls River and gauge).
I don't agree with the description of this run as class 4. I ran this in mid july of 2017 at medium flows. I was in a packraft and still fairly new to whitewater. It was a nice challenge but I never felt intimidated. Most of it is class 2+ with one harder class 3 rapid with a wave/hole that flipped a couple people.
Just ran it at 2100 in a SOTAR legend 14 foot and a JP Culebra. Great fun hole punching the whole way down. At this level punching Bob's nemesis was a blast with those boats. An experienced person in a Duckie would be great at this level. But a swim would be long. Also past Bob's nemesis and just beyond the spigot with the warning signs is a large submerged log on river left that look like a great pour over but in actuality has lots of spikes coming out of it that you can't see that would rip a hole in your boat. This is easy to see if you know its coming so heads up. Also I have run this many times and this is the easiest I have ever run the Dam. However, I never portage it.
No logs in river as of July 5, 2009. Just rafted Fall River at about 1000 CFS--a really fun level with a few long class III rapids. Portage dam on left.
I've run this a lot great fun from 1500cfs and up. Above 2000 cfs consider doing the upper run in conjuntion with this one. fun in kayaks and rafts.
Excellent run. Have done between 1000 and 3400 cfs. Probably the most fun around 2000. Becomes very continous at the higher flows and reaches class IV.
The danger is the dam, look for it at the end of the lake. Runnable at some levels, portage is always a safe option.
Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Last big rapid on the Falls River
Low basalt canyon on Falls River
Fun wave trains on the Falls River
Great rapids for eddy hopping on the Falls River
Falls River during the 2017 Packrafting Roundup
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
<?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.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!