Potlatch - 2. Frog Pond to Kendrick

Potlatch, Idaho, US


2. Frog Pond to Kendrick (The Lower Potlatch)

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 6 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-13341570 700 - 8000 cfs II-III 01h02m 34.3 cfs (too low)

River Description

The lower Potlatch is one of the only stretches of whitewater available as an easy half-day trip for those of us living in Moscow, ID, Pullman, WA, and the surrounding areas. I don't know too many kayakers who run this section all the way down to Kendrick, but it can be a nice IK, canoe, or small raft trip if the water's up. For the most part, we'll put-in up at the pond and take out at the first concrete bridge that goes over the river. This run is about 2 miles long, and contains almost every bit of whitewater that exists between the pond and the town of Kendrick.

There are a bunch of take-out options for this run. You could run all the way out to the Clearwater if you want, but if you want to get out somewhere near Kendrick, I’d suggest driving upstream on Hwy 3 until the point where the highway heads up the grade, and road P1 breaks off to the right, following the river. Turn onto road P1 and follow upstream a couple hundred yards. There’s a gravel pull-out next to the river here, just downstream of a concrete bridge that crosses the river.
The next access point upstream from here is the take-out we normally use for the shorter run. Continue upstream from the lower take-out, staying on the road that’s on river-right (do not follow P1 across the bridge and up the hill). The road winds around a bit, through some semi-residential areas. You’ll eventually cross another small concrete bridge. Just upstream from this bridge is a pull-out right next to the river where we park for the take-out.

The put-in is just under two miles upstream. The road follows the river almost the entire time, and if you're curious or worried, you can look at just about everything as you drive past. You'll cross over Cedar Creek (which has been run; there's a short class 4 run with a mandatory portage above the rapid you can see from the Potlatch shuttle road...), and then wind up a small hill. As the road bends out of sight to the right, there's a good-sized (5+ cars) pull-out on the left. Park here and gear up. There's a small trail that heads down the hill to the creek. This is private property. We've met the land owner before, and he's been really nice about letting boaters cross his land to access the creek. If you follow the game trails that head off to the right from the top of the main trail, you can bushwack a little and emerge above the rapid that ends where most people put on.

The rapids on this run are fairly straight-forward. The biggest danger is probably pinning and broaching on any of the shallow rocks that line the whole run. Particularly in the first rapid or two below the put-in, there are some areas where, at normal flows, it can be tough to avoid bonking or scraping over some rocks.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2006-01-06 14:39:25

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.
January 12 2006 (4692 days ago)
Ellis CuckseyDetails
The waves downstream from the Bear Creek confluence are stellar! We surfed there yesterday when the
river was flowing at about 12'. The third wave in the chain is by far the best wave anywhere in the
area. If the Potlatch is running 11' or more, it's worth the trip to Kendrick just for the surf

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