Pine Creek (Tributary of South Fork of the Snake) - Headwaters to S. Fork Snake River confluence

Pine Creek (Tributary of South Fork of the Snake), Idaho, US


Headwaters to S. Fork Snake River confluence

Usual Difficulty II-IV (for normal flows)
Length 11.1 Miles

River Description

Pine Creek is a beautiful wilderness run through open valley and down into an isolated canyon. 
Section 1, 7 miles: Overall this section is class II-III with class II for the majority of the segment before the canyon, as the creek meanders through fields and willows. You will encounter two class III rapids. 
Section 2, 4.1 miles: As you enter this section the river turns away from the highway and slowly drops into a canyon with giant walls to your north as enter the 4.1 mile Pine Creek Canyon with class II-IV+ whitewater. This canyon section is a beautiful isolated wilderness run with no opportunity to turn back. Expect to encounter four notable class IV rapids over the length of the canyon and stay on the lookout for log jams and or partial log jams that require a cautious approach. One of the class IV rapids has an entrance with potentially higher class IV+ to V consequences. Of the three entrance options to this rapid: the the far right has pinning potential, the center has a line but a quick maneuver must be made around a boulder after dropping in the center, and the far left has a line to skirt around but does not set you up for the remainder of the rapid's line which is river right.
The put is where the North Fork of Pine Creek meets highway 21 and flows become adequate to paddle (43.560758, -111.275906).
An intermediate access point serves as a take-out for section 1 or a put-in for the the lower canyon 43.509021, -111.357853).
The take-out for the full canyon run (43.477242, -111.441340) is where Pine Creek meets the Snake River. Exit on river left just before the confluence. Hike west along the south bank of the Snake, periodically crossing channels, and eventually a cow pasture, to reach the highway. Beware of aggressive territorial cows (seriously). The takeout exercise is about a
two-hour ordeal.
Another option is to make it an overnight trip and travel 20 miles down the Snake River to the next boat ramp: Riley Ditch or Byington Boat Ramp.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-05-30 17:55:20

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Intermediate Access PointN/AAccess

Rapid Descriptions

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 23 2017 (489 days ago)
PaddlerTeton930 (155821)
Flow Report: Ran 5/22/17 while the snake was at 10k. The Teton was at 681 cfs. I approximated the
initial flow at 250-300cfs. At this flow eddies were numerous in section 1 and 2.....but at higher
levels I imagine eddies in both sections would be few are far between. Section 1 and 2 both had one
mandatory log jam portage.
May 17 2006 (4513 days ago)
Thomas TurianoDetails
On 5/16/06, Scott McGee, Derek Collins, and I ran from where the highway crosses North Pine Creek
to the confluence with the Snake River. Scott was in a hard shell kayak, Derek in an Alpacka Raft,
and myself in an inflatable kayak. The Snake River near Alpine, WY was running at about

Derek had hiked a couple miles up North Pine Creek a couple days before and ran it back down to the
highway. He had this to say: "Wow, what a great float. Class 2-3 water mabye. Running good and
deep. One deadfall section I had to portage, but rest was clean."

The section from North Pine to the Snake was a bit more serious. From North Pine to the beginning
of the canyon section, Pine Creek flows very quickly through numerous meanders, some of which flow
up-canyon a surprising distance. Willows guard the banks making it tricky to get out where ever you
want. There were several tricky bends and lots of Class II wave trains in this stretch. There also
are three bridges. The first was easy to get under, but the next two were not so easy. We portaged
the second and ran the third, but Derek flipped while ducking under the third bridge. Shortly below
that bridge is a log jam, which is passable via a sneak that requires hitting a large wave.

Then, as the creek enters the canyon section, the gradient eases a bit, the water slows down, but
the rapids become more sustained and serious. Not far into the canyon, there was a log jam followed
by Class IV water. The jam was sneakable on the left, but it would be an very difficult move. Derek
and I portaged on river right through thick brush and put in again below the Class IV water. Scott
portaged the log jam on the left and put in again to run the Class IV water.

The flow stayed consistent Class II and III to the large trestle bridge of the highway. Derek and I
took out at this point.

Scott continued downriver. Immediately under the trestle is a Class III/IV drop and then sustained
Class III for a half mile. The river then eased for a short distance, and then dropped again for a
long sustained stretch of Class III/IV, with few eddies. At one point, Scott was unable to avoid
hitting a large log spanning the entire streambed. He nosed into it, turned sideways, and flipped
upstream. Under the log he went, calmly waiting for the right time to complete his roll. He felt
branches scraping his boat, and thought it best to rip and swim. He made it to the bank with all of
his gear and some minor scrapes on his leg. The current continued at Class III and some Class IV
right to the confluence with the Snake.

At this point, Scott worked upstream along the bank of the Snake and crossed four channels to reach
the opposite bank. Then carried his boat nearly a mile across pasture to the highway.

Thomas Turiano

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