Payette, S. Fork - 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon)


Payette, S. Fork, Idaho, US

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2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 11 Miles

Entering the Canyon


Entering the Canyon
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/28/14 @ 2160 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Payette; South Fork below Deadwood Confluence
virtual-49596 330 - 5000 cfs III-IV 00h26m 576.9 cfs (running)
Below 2500 is more manageable.


River Description

The canyon section of the South Fork Payette is an Idaho classic. It is a beautiful III-IV run, in a deep remote canyon. Best of all is its long season and clean, clear water.

The standard put-in for this run is the Deadwood River Access. If you put in here it allows for a couple miles of warm up with good class II and a couple of class III rapids that are easy read and run.
 
The real action begins soon enough as you enter S Turn, a big class IV read and run with lots of waves and a few holes to avoid.
 
Next up is Big Falls a class V to VI drop which is a portage for most. It has been run a few times, a couple times inadvertently, but at spring flows some enormous holes form in the bottom half of this intimidating drop. The rapid comes up quick and is marked by a couple of warning signs (the first on river right and then a second marking the start of the portage on river left). The lead in class II is not hard but be sure to make the eddy on river left just before the river drops off the edge into the abyss of Big Falls. Anyone who has the skills for this run should not have a problem making the move, but it can be a little intimidating as the consequences of missing the eddy would be severe.
 
The portage trail on river left is well worn and although it is not an easy portage for rafts, some people do it. A little scrambling on the rocks at the bottom takes you to a nice seal launch into the pool at the base of the falls. On a sunny day this is a nice spot to break for lunch and take it all in; the whole scene is pretty cool.
 
Once you are in the pool below Big Falls you are in the most scenic section of the inner gorge. Shortly after the exit rapid from this pool you will find yourself at the horizon line for Blackadar. This is a great rapid that you run left of center down a nice tongue, but be prepared for a couple of big hits at the bottom.
 
More fun whitewater continues as the gorge walls slows descend and the highway comes into view on the right. Lone Pine is the next significant drop, recognized by the lone pine on a rock on river right and the retaining wall along the highway. Take this one down the right through a fun wave train.
 
Little Falls is the next major rapid. Never go down the center at Little Falls. Either take the far right line or nail the nice boof on far river left which is a fun line at medium flows. One landmark that tells you Little Falls is coming is the steel netting to catch rockfall along the road, which has shiny big washers that can be seen from the river. Check it out on the drive up. 
 
Surprise is the final big drop which is a fun wave train that ends in a big hole at the bottom. You can start out on the tongue but be sure to exit to one side or the other to avoid the hole at the bottom.
 
Keep your eyes open for a small bedrock island that marks the kayaker take-out or continue on down through easier whitewater to the formal access at Danskin Station.
 
Jet boats have been able to run all the way up the South Fork to below Big Falls, above 5000 cfs. 
 
Logistics:
 
The Banks-Lowman Road parallels the river but is hundreds of feet above the river in most places. 
 
The primary put-in for this run is at Deadwood River Access at road mile 29.9. Kayakers sometimes use the alternate put-in access at Pine Flat Campground at road mile 27.9 which cuts off the first two miles of warm up class III.
 
If doing a road scout you can see Big Falls from the overlook at road mile 25.0 and Little Falls at road mile 22.7.
 
The Kayaker Access which is an alternate take-out used by kayakers is at road mile 21.9. It is an unmarked roadside pull-out with a decent trail down to the river. You can recognize it by the small bedrock island on the river right side of the channel that is just upstream of the access trail.
 
The primary take-out is at Danskin Station River Access at road mile 19.5. This is a formal access site with a set of steep stairs from the river to the parking lot. For the rafters, there is a wooden ramp at Danskin but it is steep and involves carrying the boat up the bank about 100 vertical feet, another reason to load rafts lightly for this trip.
 

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-09-02 16:26:45

Editors

Stream team editor


Little Falls

Detail Trip Report  Little Falls  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(654.94KB .png)

Little Falls

Detail Trip Report  Little Falls  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.51MB .jpeg)

S Turn

Detail Trip Report  S Turn  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.45MB .jpeg)

Big Falls Approach

Detail Trip Report  Big Falls Approach  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.29MB .jpeg)

Blackadar

Detail Trip Report  Blackadar   @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.61MB .jpeg)

Lone Pine

Detail Trip Report  Lone Pine  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.49MB .jpeg)

Fun Whitewater

Detail Trip Report  Fun Whitewater  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.94MB .jpeg)

Surprise

Detail Trip Report  Surprise  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(5.95MB .jpeg)

Pine Flat Hot Spring

Detail Trip Report  Pine Flat Hot Spring  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(7.00MB .jpeg)

Gateway

Detail Trip Report  Gateway  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.40MB .jpeg)

Deadwood River Access

Detail Trip Report  Deadwood River Access  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.32MB .jpeg)

Entering the Canyon

Detail Trip Report  Entering the Canyon  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(7.05MB .jpeg)

Eddy Above Big Falls

Detail Trip Report  Eddy Above Big Falls  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.95MB .jpeg)

Big Falls

Detail Trip Report  Big Falls  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(5.51MB .jpeg)

Big Falls

Detail Trip Report  Big Falls  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.70MB .jpeg)

Contemplating Lines

Detail Trip Report  Contemplating Lines  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.65MB .jpeg)

Contemplating Lines

Detail Trip Report  Contemplating Lines  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(2.84MB .jpeg)

Kayaker Take-Out

Detail Trip Report  Kayaker Take-Out  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(7.13MB .jpeg)

Lone Pine

Detail Trip Report  Lone Pine  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(7.05MB .jpeg)

Big Falls Portage

Detail Trip Report  Big Falls Portage  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.73MB .jpeg)

Buck bootie shot

Detail Trip Report  Buck bootie shot  Payette, S. Fork, ID(43.78KB .jpeg)

Blackadar Rapid

Detail Trip Report  Blackadar Rapid  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(2.80MB .jpeg)

Lone Pine

Detail Trip Report  Lone Pine  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.60MB .jpeg)

Line up for Little Falls

Detail Trip Report  Line up for Little Falls  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(8.75MB .jpeg)

Little Falls 2

Detail Trip Report  Little Falls 2  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(7.37MB .jpeg)

Little Falls

Detail Trip Report  Little Falls  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(6.65MB .jpeg)

Big Falls Seal Launch

Detail Trip Report  Big Falls Seal Launch  @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), ID(3.15MB .jpeg)


Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

Flows are the sum of USGS South Fork Payette near Lowman plus Deadwood River.
 

After the Deadwood river is shut off, the Canyon flows can be in the 345 cfs range, which is generally too low for rafts, but still some creeky fun for kayaks. 
For example, in 2015 the Deadwood stepped down from 1000 to 900 on August 25, then to 700 on August 28, then down to 50 on August 31. That puts the Canyon flow around 345. 

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Payette; South Fork below Deadwood Confluence
virtual-49596 330 - 5000 cfs III-IV 00h26m 576.9 cfs (running)
Below 2500 is more manageable.

RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
330 -5000 cfs barely runnable-high runnable III-IV Below 2500 is more manageable.
1500 -2500 cfs med runnable-a bit pushy runnable III-IV

Report - Reports of Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

Reports

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Payette, S. Fork [ID] Buck bootie shot fun Ben Clack
1y11d23h13m @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) [ID] Account of 11/08/16 n/a John Dowse
3y64d09h23m @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) [ID] Little Falls low runnable level John Dowse
3y145d11h53m @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) [ID] South Fork Payette Canyon 2160 cfs Thomas O'Keefe
4y105d12h07m @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) [ID] Line up for Little Falls a good level Jake Anderson
4y105d12h19m @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) [ID] Big Falls Seal Launch 579 cfs Jake Anderson
4y105d12h25m @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) [ID] Little Falls 2 a good level Jake Anderson
4y114d04h46m @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) [ID] Lone Pine a good level Jake Anderson
4y115d04h04m @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) [ID] Little Falls a good level Jake Anderson
5y156d09h03m @Payette, S. Fork 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon) [ID] Blackadar Rapid 2900 cfs Travis Heim

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Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
4.0S TurnIVPhoto
5.0Big FallsVIPortage Hazard Waterfall Photo
5.2Blackadar RapidIVPhoto
6.4Lone PineIVPhoto
6.9Little FallsIVPhoto
7.5SurpriseIVPhoto
8.0Kayaker Take-OutN/AAccess Photo
10.4Danskin StationN/APutin Takeout Access

Rapid Descriptions

S Turn (Class IV, Mile 4.0)

S Turn

S Turn
Photo of Steve Corsi by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/28/14 @ 2160 cfs


Big Falls (Class VI, Mile 5.0)

Big Falls

Big Falls
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/28/14 @ 2160 cfs

Portage, river left.



Blackadar Rapid (Class IV, Mile 5.2)

Blackadar

Blackadar
Photo of Jon McAnulty by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/28/14 @ 2160 cfs


Lone Pine (Class IV, Mile 6.4)

Lone Pine

Lone Pine
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/28/14 @ 2160 cfs


Little Falls (Class IV, Mile 6.9)

Line up for Little Falls

Line up for Little Falls
Photo by Jake Anderson taken 08/07/13 @ a good level


Surprise (Class IV, Mile 7.5)

Surprise

Surprise
Photo of Steve Corsi by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/28/14 @ 2160 cfs


Kayaker Take-Out (Class N/A, Mile 8.0)

Kayaker Take-Out

Kayaker Take-Out
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/28/14 @ 2160 cfs


Danskin Station (Class N/A, Mile 10.4)

A loong ramp serves as the raft takeout. 
This is also the normal putin for Swirly.




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 2 - Deadwood River to Danskin Station (The Canyon), Payette, S. Fork Idaho, US (mobile)