Jarbidge - Murphy Hot Springs to Bruneau River (Indian Hot Springs)

Jarbidge, Idaho, US


Murphy Hot Springs to Bruneau River (Indian Hot Springs)

Usual Difficulty II-V (for normal flows)
Length 29 Miles
Avg. Gradient 35 fpm

Jarbidge River

Jarbidge River
Photo of Peter Spear by Claudia Schwab taken 05/15/01

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-13168500 700 - 2500 cfs II-V 00h45m 80.8 cfs (too low)

River Description

SEASON: Late April early May, but flows are highly variable and difficult to predict.

PERMIT: Self issue permit required, register at the put in or take out.

HAZARDS: Frequent log jams, mandatory portages, remote, vertically-walled gorge with limited exits and access. 

LOGISTICS: Due to difficult access, it is highly recommened to run the complete Jarbidge and Bruneau rivers, allowing for at least 2 days on the Jarbidge and 3 days on the Bruneau.

To get to the Bruneau River take out, head Southeast from the town of Bruneau for 8 miles on Hot Springs Road. Where the road veers left and climbs, watch for a gravel road that continues straight along the river (note that the name also changes here on the map from Hot Springs Road to Clover Three Creek Road). Follow it 1/2 mile to the take out (private land). There is a dangerous low head dam immedeately below the take out that is difficult to see from river level. 

To get to the put in, return to the main road and continue approximately 60 miles (gravel) to the junction with Rodgerson hiway (aka Three Creek Road). Take a right and continue 10 miles, passing throug the town of Murphy Hot Springs, to the put in at the confluence of the East and West Forks of the Jarbidge. There is improved camping, boat ramps and an outhouse at the put in. The Clover Three Creek Road is suitable for 2 wheel drive vehicles, though it can be quite muddy and rutted at certain times of the year.

To run only the Jarbidge section requires taking out at at Indian Hot Springs, near the confluence of the Jarbidge and West Fork Bruneau rivers. This is a class V shuttle that requires a capable 4x4 vehicle with good all-terrain tires and an experienced off-road driver. Two spares tires and a high lift jack are recommended for travel in the Buneau backcountry. Driving to Indian Hot Springs should not be attempted during wet or snowy weather, which is common during boating season. To get there continue 30 miles out the Clover Three Creek road from the Bruneau take out. Watch for a sign on the right marking the turn off after crossing Clover Creek and making a switchback turn. The first six miles of the road are good, but it quickly deteriorates thereafter. As a general rule, stay left at the unmarked forks. GPS is recommended. Shuttle drivers can be sometimes be arranged in the town of Bruneau. Do not underestimate the difficulty of this road. Horror stories abound.

Bring cold weather camping gear as temps frequently drop below freezing during boating season. Drinking water should be purified. Approved firepans and human waste containment systems are required. Check BLM regulations before your trip. A great map can be purchased from the BLM, which covers both the Bruneau and Jarbidge.

DESCRIPTION: The Jarbidge starts out as a fast-moving, shallow stream (class II-III) under Juniper trees, through stunning canyons with red volcanic cliffs and hoodoos. As of 2011 Sevy Falls rapid has been  inundated by the backwater of a large landslide that has completely dammed the river just down stream. There is a new class VI rapid at the slide. Portage river left. Note that It is extremely difficult for rafts and catarafts to portage or line this rapid. You'll know you reached the slide when you come to a long lake like section with partially flooded and dying trees. Wally's Wallow (mile 22) is tight class IV and should be scouted (portage and scout river left). Jarbidge Falls at mile 25 is a long steep class V+ section with complex ledges and boulder gardens. A house rock blocks more than half of the river, and indicates the begin of this rapid. The portage is long and over difficult terrain, making it very difficult for rafts. At mile 29 the confluence with the Bruneau River is reached and soon Indian Hot Springs.

While the Jarbidge has been run in rafts and catarafts it is not recommended due to the extreme difficulty in portaging Slide, Jarbidge Falls and Wallys Wallow. Additionally, the river bed is very constricted in many places with just enough room for kayaks to pass between large boulders and around log jams.

Permit Information


Self issue permit can be downloaded from BLM website.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-12-05 03:17:08


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.
April 25 2016 (997 days ago)
Mike HartleyDetails
Put on for this run 4/19/2016. Within the first mile there are 3 trees overhanging the river. At
our flow (1080) we could just duck under them. Higher flow could be a problem. There are trees
blocking the entire river at miles 3 1/4, 7, and just beyond Slide Rapid. Higher water might help
in getting over these. The center chute in Wally's Wallow is filled with a full sized tree. Don't
see it coming out anytime soon. Given that we'd never ran the rapid before we lined, then portaged
left. These are only the main wood hazards. Wood is everywhere!
May 30 2013 (2058 days ago)
T4eresa (153294)
The portage at the former Sevy Falls-now Slide rapid, was passable this 2013 season. Someone has
shored up the sketchy part of the goat path with stacked rocks. The trail is still only a narrow
herd path on a steep grassy slope, and not suitable for wide loads.
June 28 2011 (2760 days ago)
Thorin (152147)
The portage at Sevy Falls is eroding and the bank is unstable. Portaging on river right may soon be
the only option.
June 15 2009 (3503 days ago)
Steve RodgersDetails
Skip my earlier comment. Sevy Falls no longer exists.
May 6 2006 (4638 days ago)
Brian VogtDetails
There is a USGS gauge <a
13162225</a> on the EF Jarbidge some may find of use.