This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV
Length 2 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 03/02/2020 11:47 pm

River Description

See Idaho: the Whitewater State by G. Amaral (Watershed Books, 1990).
Lat / Longitude data are very approximate.
Note: according to Amaral, the USGS renamed this river "Malad" in the 1970's. However, at USGS websites, both names seem to work.

At normal low flows, the upper section, above the first dam you come to, is short, .8 miles. But - its always runnable, with beautiful warm blue spring-fed  water which is about 55 degrees year round. If you hike .2 miles past a locked gate, there is an official kayaker putin (below another dam); or you can putin elsewhere along the road.  It starts easy and becomes quality class IV in the last 1/4 mile. A good line at the crux drop at low winter flows is to go right, like it looks, taking the drop with left boat angle to avoid the rock right below.  You can hike a few laps on that section. At 1500, the upper section looked sustained, and the right side gets tougher, with piton rocks in the middle. A narrow boof through a rock slot opens up on the left. The dam is a mandatory portage left, with a large takeout eddy.

At high flows, the lower mile is popular with solid big water boaters. It ran over 2200 in spring 2012. Idaho locals still call it class IV, but "pretty continuous at 1300+". Put in below the first dam, that  you can drive to (there is a staircase for kayakers) and take out at the Snake access parking lot. 

Once you get accustomed to the dams and diversion canals all along this run, its quite a beautiful basalt-walled canyon. Some of the largest sagebrush I've ever seen is along the dirt road along this run; 7 foot tall sagebrush that give you an idea of what an "old growth sagebrush" ecosystem was like; a threatened, vanishing ecosystem that sage grouse, pygmy rabbits and others need for their survival.


Rapid Descriptions


No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Lower Malad:

Malad Lwr Pwr Cnl at Plant nr Bliss, ID

I understand this gauge is for the canal taken from the Malad right above the lower dam. If the upper dam is not diverting, then this gauge should correlate well with the upper Malad section.

Directions Description

From Bliss, head south on rt 30, then take a left onto a dirt road immediately after crossing the river A half mile up the dirt road is a diversion dam. If you are doing a high water run, most people put in below this dam. If you are doing a low water run, the takeout is above this dam, and the putin is .8 miles upstream, .2 miles past a locked gate. Park there and hike up, or just put in there. 

To get to the Snake river confluence, and takeout for a high water run, drive back down and cross rt 30, bearing right on a dirt road. There is a parking lot and bathroom on the left before you cross over the Malad. In 2011 it appeared ok to camp there. 

No Accident Reports



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Malad River Gets Additional Water This Year (ID)

Kevin Colburn

Thanks to a turbine replacement project requiring a hydropower diversion to be shut down for much of 2016, paddlers will get a longer and better season on the Malad River this year. Have fun and be safe out there! 

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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.

Bill Hunt


Matt Muir


Thomas O'Keefe


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1201246 05/05/12 Bill Hunt
1214476 03/02/20 Bill Hunt updated description
1214478 03/02/20 Bill Hunt updated description
1214477 03/02/20 Bill Hunt updated description
1201182 04/16/12 Bill Hunt Corrected the putin on the map. It was too far upstream.
1195227 06/01/09 Matt Muir Added photo to main page.
1201184 04/16/12 Bill Hunt updated the directions, etc.
1201183 04/16/12 Bill Hunt added the Idaho Power gauge, and a run description.
1201323 05/19/12 Thomas O'Keefe copy edit
1202775 10/10/13 Bill Hunt
1202777 10/10/13 Bill Hunt
1206895 10/06/16 Bill Hunt added gauge for lower canal
1195226 06/01/09 Matt Muir typo
1190368 05/23/01 n/a n/a