Marble Creek (Tributary of St. Joe River), Idaho, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||64 fpm|
|Max Gradient||139 fpm|
|Marble Creek 2|
|virtual-10430||500 - 10000 cfs||III-IV||00h47m||64.082 cfs (too low)|
Marble Creek can be run all the way from Camp 3 to the confluence with the St. Joe for a 15+ mile day trip; However, the most commonly run section is from the bridge at mile marker 9, to the Marble Creek interpretive center at the confluence. For a condensed version of Marble with nearly non-stop whitewater, put in at Marble Creek Campground (near mile 4 or 5) and take out at the Boulder Creek Bridge. The upper most section of the creek above 9 Mile Bridge is mostly class II-III swift water, with one possible portage around the remains of an old splash dam. While not as exciting as the section below 9 mile, the road is well above the canyon on this stretch, giving it a wild character.
Marble Creek is very continuous, read and run class III+ with a few standout class IV rapids that should always be carefully scouted for wood. Logs are always a serious hazard on the entire run and can shift around frequently so be extremely vigilant. Swims can be long and painful on this run due to the high gradient, scarcity of eddies and relatively shallow stream bed. Keep your group tight. Most of the run below 9 mile bridge can be easily road scouted. This run is great for those contemplating stepping up to more serious class IV North Idaho creeking.
The following US Forest Service maps are highly recommended: St. Joe National Forest / Coeur d' Alene National Forest. Most Forest Service offices in the Inland Northwest carry them.
Exit Interstate 90, at the Wallace, Idaho visitor's center. Work your way south through town following Placer Creek up a small canyon to road 456. Take 456 over Moon Pass (4,931') and down the N. Fork of the St. Joe to the town of Avery. From Avery, go roughly 15 miles down river to the take out at Marble Creek interpretive site.
To get to the put in, head south on road 321, up Marble Creek for approximately 9 miles, (continue on 321 to get to Camp 3 for the upper run, but note that at Deveggio Creek road 321 crosses to the east side of Marble Creek, stay on 321 until the next bridge near Forest Service Camp 3). Be sure to stop and scout for new logs and strainers on your way to the put in.
If you're coming from Moscow or the South, best access is via St. Maries, Idaho. It's about 47 miles (all pavement) from St. Maries to Marble Creek. If your coming from the North, call the Avery Ranger Station to make sure road 456 over Moon Pass is Open (208) 245-4517.
American Whitewater Journal, Locals Favorite, St. Joe Drainage, Todd Hoffman, July / August 2006.
Forest Service Camping Guide
Gauge Correlation - CFS Calder
Gradient Chart - (by river mile)
Gradient Chart - (comparative)
Hydrograph - Marble Creek
Map of Idaho Panhandle
NOAA Snow Gauge - Lost Lake
River Flow Forcast - Calder
USGS Gauge - Calder
There are several outstanding runs within a 30 mile radius of Avery, including the Skookum Canyon (class III-IV), Tumbledown (class III-IV) and Heller Creek (class IV) sections of the main St. Joe, plus the North Fork of the Joe (class III) and Slate Creek (class IV-V). Also, access to the Little North Fork Clearwater (class IV-V) is from Avery via Fishook Creek.