Portneuf - Lava Hot Springs to PVC diversion


Portneuf, Idaho, US

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Lava Hot Springs to PVC diversion

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 6.1 Miles

upper falls tandem


upper falls tandem
Photo by looze/doerr taken 11/01/11

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
PORTNEUF RIVER AT TOPAZ ID
usgs-13073000 150 - 900 cfs III-IV 00h47m 145 cfs (too low)


River Description

The river bed is- predictably- lava rock and the drops tend to be river wide ledges. The ledges are quite regular and thus tend to get stickier and stickier as flows grow. The stretch has long been a summer tubing run from the thai restaraunt down at flow of 300cfs and less. But buyer beware at higher flows. At flows of 400-700 it is great kayak fun. A surf wave comes in at the bridge near the hot pools and tourists stop to watch. at flows of 700-900 it is a surprisingly
tough stretch.

At flows above 1000 the holes are extremely sticky and nasty nasty swims are possible. At this level full creeking gear, throw bags and scouting is highly reccommended. A good boof stroke is mandatory as is a bomber roll and a good crew.The first drop (about an 8 footer) about took a guy last year. he had an extended hole swim (appx 2 minutes totally submerged). His boat didn't reappear for over 20 minutes. Take this little stretch seriously at higher flows. I am reluctant to grade it but am comfoirtable in class IV and this stretch scares me above 1000cfs.

 

Possible put-in a few miles above the highway 30 bridge at the sportsmen campground on blaser road.
There's a scoutable dam 50 yards above the highway 30 bridge and two small class 3 drops before entering the KOA campground area. Above 550 cfs these two drops above the KOA campground have holes/hydraulics you should boof over.
------------------------------------------------------

Recommended put in: KOA Campground at furthest upriver launch in campground. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rapids are scoutable from koa
campground.-------------------------------------

1st Rapid (II-III): Small 10' wide ledge that creates small hydraulic above 550cfs. avoid bushes on river right directly after dropping ledge.
boof center.-----------------------------------------------------------

2nd Rapid (Class III Drop): drop center left to catch large eddy. From here the river splits. You can ferry across far river
right to rapid #3 (AOK Falls) or drop left to rapid #4 and bypass AOK Falls.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Rapid (AOK Falls IV): The entrance to AOK falls is immediately after rapid #2 to the far river right with
a 3' wide entrance drop through the trees/bushes followed by a 13' sheer drop into a pool. This
rapid is scoutable from the campground. It is recommended to catch the river left eddy after rapid
#2 , then ferry into the AOK entrance. Attempt to drop left of AOK falls as river right of the
falls has a tree growing out of the falls/wall--------------------------------------------------

4th Rapid ( IV Left option bypassing AOK Falls): This is a 30-50 yard continuous rapid that is class 4
above 550CFS. Avoid the strainer bushes/trees by entering the rapid to the left at the entrance.
-----------------------------------

5th Rapid (II left, III right) (Mary's Campground Metal Bridge):
Avoid Pylons. The right line has a small hydraulic that should be boofed above 550cfs. The left
line is a safer bet, avoiding the pylons, with two smaller drops.
--------------------------------------

6th Rapid III (End of KOA Campground): Above 550cfs
hydraulic. Run far river left to skirt around hydraulic or boof over the
center.----------------------------------------------

7th Rapid (The Hydrant) III-IV depending on
level (Behind Thai Restaurant): Large Drop with a tongue right down the middle. hole on left.
-----------------------------------------

8th Rapid III-IV (Tuber Falls): At low levels this could
be run nearly anywhere. At higher levels >500 run far river left. There is a serious potential
for pinning against a partially submerged rock on river right at higher flows.
------------------------------------------

The remainder of the river is wave train/laterals II-III.
There is an unnamed public park takeout at 42.623215, -112.020968 (.5 miles, just after town on
river right)

 

Data from Pacific NW Rivers Study, Stan Allen, Idaho Coordinator


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-04-18 16:57:36

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.
July 17 2017 (488 days ago)
spitcher (158965)
250 is too low for all the upper drops except for the Bridge and Tuber falls. Easy to walk down
them though at that level.
April 17 2017 (579 days ago)
PaddlerTeton930 (155821)
Possible put-in a few miles above the highway 30 bridge at the sportsmen campground on blaser road.
There's a scoutable dam 50 yards above the highway 30 bridge and two small class 3 drops before
entering the KOA campground area. Above 550 cfs these two drops above the KOA campground have
holes/hydraulics you should boof over.
------------------------------------------------------Recommended put in: KOA Campground at
furthest upriver launch in campground. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rapids are scoutable from koa
campground.-------------------------------------1st Rapid (II-III): Small 10' wide ledge that
creates small hydraulic above 550cfs. avoid bushes on river right directly after dropping ledge.
boof center.-----------------------------------------------------------2nd Rapid (Class III Drop):
drop center left to catch large eddy. From here the river splits. You can ferry across far river
right to rapid #3 (AOK Falls) or drop left to rapid #4 and bypass AOK Falls.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3rd Rapid
(AOK Falls IV): The entrance to AOK falls is immediately after rapid #2 to the far river right with
a 3' wide entrance drop through the trees/bushes followed by a 13' sheer drop into a pool. This
rapid is scoutable from the campground. It is recommended to catch the river left eddy after rapid
#2 , then ferry into the AOK entrance. Attempt to drop left of of AOK falls as river right of the
falls has a tree growing out of the falls/wall--------------------------------------------------4th
Rapid ( IV Left option bypassing AOK Falls): This is a 30-50 yard continuous rapid that is class 4
above 550CFS. Avoid the strainer bushes/trees by entering the rapid to the left at the entrance.
-----------------------------------5th Rapid (II left, III right) (Mary's Campground Metal Bridge):
Avoid Pylons. The right line has a small hydraulic that should be boofed above 550cfs. The left
line is a safer bet, avoiding the pylons, with two smaller drops.
--------------------------------------6th Rapid III (End of KOA Campground): Above 550cfs
hydraulic. Run far river left to skirt around hydraulic or boof over the
center.----------------------------------------------7th Rapid (The Hydrant) III-IV depending on
level (Behind Thai Restaurant): Large Drop with a tongue right down the middle. hole on left.
-----------------------------------------8th Rapid III-IV (Tuber Falls): At low levels this could
be run nearly anywhere. At higher levels >500 run far river left. There is a serious potential
for pinning against a partially submerged rock on river right at higher flows.
------------------------------------------The remainder of the river is wave train/laterals II-III.
There is an unnamed public park takeout at 42.623215, -112.020968 (.5 miles, just after town on
river right)
April 17 2017 (579 days ago)
PaddlerTeton930 (155821)
4/15/17 The KOA to end of town run was well above 513CFS. Most likely in the 800-1100cfs range. Yet
the gauge still reads 513cfs. Be aware of the gauge discrepancy
March 31 2010 (3154 days ago)
brianteats (151553)
The 'big drop' from the photos section, behind the KOA, only seems runnable at 250+ ish cfs. The
next drop was a 6-7 foot drop to slide at 135 cfs. These low levels provide good fun for this run
before it gets big and gnarly.
May 29 2009 (3460 days ago)
x (1)
Is this the gauge? http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?site_no=13073000
March 1 2007 (4279 days ago)
lance clarkDetails
If you put in below the diversion ( above the highway bridge ) there are some good drops before the
pool. The river bed is- predictably- lava rock and the drops tend to be river wide ledges. The
ledges are quite regular and thus tend to get stickier and stickier as flows grow. The stretch has
long been a summer tubing run from the thai restaraunt down at flow of 300cfs and less. But buyer
beware at higher flows. At flows of 400-700 it is great kayak fun. A surf wave comes in at the
bridge near the hot pools and tourists stop to watch. at flows of 700-900 it is a surprisingly
tough stretch. At flows above 1000 the holes are extremely sticky and nasty nasty swims are
possible. At this level full creeking gear, throw bags and scouting is highly reccommended. A good
boof stroke is mandatory as is a bomber roll and a good crew.The first drop (about an 8 footer)
about took a guy last year. he had an extended hole swim (appx 2 minutes totally submerged). His
boat didn't reappear for over 20 minutes. Take this little stretch seriously at higher flows. I am
reluctant to grade it but am comfoirtable in class IV and this stretch scares me above 1000cfs.
March 1 2007 (4280 days ago)
lance clarkDetails
below the town are 2 mellow stretches. from the pool to the highway bridge is class I, flat with
one minor drop near the end. From the bridge down is slow farm land interrupted by occasional small
drops. the worst is directly below a small bridge/pipe and may be difficult for canoes or in high
water. plenty of recovery between drops, easy bike shuttle. the take out is just above the
diversion where the country lane meets the highway. there is a small waterfall by the diversion
that doen't ever look fun but the take out is suer easy to make, very slow/flat water.


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