Henrys Fork, Idaho, US
|Usual Difficulty||III+(V) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||44 fpm|
|HENRYS FORK NR ASHTON ID|
|usgs-13046000||1000 - 3000 cfs||III+(V)||00h36m||2290 cfs (running)|
This run is a beautiful canyon consisting of mellow class II-III whitewater and three class V drops. The old Idaho guide book describes this as a scenic run with three portages. Other people think of it as a fun run with three good rapids and some flat water. Either way it is beautiful and worth the effort. Also, generally runs all season.
See G. Amaral, Idaho: the Whitewater State (Watershed, 1992).
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|2.7||Drop No. 1: Sheep Falls||5.0|
|2.8||Drop No. 2:||5.0|
|5.0||Drop No. 3:||5.1|
|6.3||The Ledge Hole||IV|
To get to the put-in continue towards Island Park. Turn left when you see a sign for Hatchery Ford. Follow this dirt road down to the river. You will know you are in the right place by a sign warning of dangerous falls downstream and that boating is not recommended.
Sheep Falls is located on a sweeping left turn. Noticeable by a significant horizon line and a hint of spray. Eddie out river right to scout and/or portage. Both the two-tiered part of the drop on the left or the slide on center right are runnable.
This rapid is immediately after Sheep Falls. Easiest to scout both while you are out of your boat, or if you are portaging, just keep walking. This drop is as intimidating as it is safe. Take note of the two small entrance holes. They are bigger than they look from the bank. Otherwise, straight down the tongue, baby! Huge, flat pool at the bottom, minimal consequences. Under 1600cfs this drop gets very sticky and is not usually run. Over 2500cfs it only gets better! When portaging there are two possibilities for re-entering the river. The best is to slide off a rock at water level into the current right below the meat of the drop. People have seal-launched the high rock, but you run the risk of breaking your boat on the underwater rocks. If you do not like the look of this: hope you are wearing long pants. You will be hiking for a while, navigating a steep embankment, and wading through waist-high stinging nettle.
This drop is a river-wide, sticky, ledge hole. It can be run anywhere if you have a good relationship with your boof stroke. Otherwise, run left. You can see the drop from the river left eddy. This hole has been known to re-circulate swimmers and empty boats.
Class I if you make it, class VI if you miss. Do not float over Upper Mesa Falls! Exit river left onto the boardwalk and smile at the tourists.