The North Fork, referred to by locals as the Little Joe, is a great Class III(+) run through a deep and scenic gorge. Despite roads running along each side of the river, the canyon has a remote and wild character. The run is a mix of class II swift water and a few long and continuous class III rapids. The hardest drop is on the section above North Fork campground and can not be easily seen from the road. Everything can be easily boat scouted and most of the run is visible from the road. Always keep an eye out for new logs. Season:
The North Fork is runnable from early May to late June in years with heavy snow pack. Early season access may be impeded by snow on Moon Pass. If Moon is closed, access is usually still possible via St. Maries and Avery. Contact Avery or Silverton Ranger Stations, or Shoshone County Roads Department for latest road conditions. Maps:
US Forest Service: St. Joe National Forest and Coeur d' Alene National Forest. Most Forest Service offices in the Inland Northwest carry them. They are both highly recommended. Logistics:
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 to Loop Creek. The semi primitive launch site at Loop Creek has parking. It's a good idea to lock your boat or stash it in the brush if you leave it unattended as boats have been stolen here. Continue down road 456 to the take out which is just above the confluence with the main St. Joe at the garbage dumpsters. Do not block access to the dumpsters. Park in the small turn out next to the bridge or just around the corner next to the main St. Joe road. Planning Tools:Forest Service Camping GuideGradient Chart - (by river mile)Gradient Chart - (comparative)Map of Idaho PanhandleRiver Flow ForcastSnow Pack ReportUSGS Gauge - CalderNotes:
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 Marble Creek (class III-IV) and the Slate Creek (class IV-V). Also, access to the Little North Fork of the Clearwater(class IV-V) is from Avery via Fishook Creek.
In December 2004 I painted a new gauge on the remains of the old bridge at the confluence with the main St. Joe. Look for it at the turnout at the Avery garbage dumpsters. Since this is a new gauge I'm still working on a correlation to the St. Joe gauge at Calder. Please e-mail me with your observations. For now, look for around 3000 CFS or more on the Calder gauge of the main St. Joe.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
North Fork - Winter 2004
North Fork Gauge - Detail
North Fork Gauge
Headwaters of North Fork St. Joe
Little Joe 2
North Fork St. Joe Gradient
Town of Avery
Open Boaters on the North Fork
Topographic Map - Little Joe (N. Fork St. Joe)
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<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Idaho is proposing a $13 registration fee for non-motorized boats greater than 7 feet in length. Under this registration fee proposal all kayaks and rafts on Idaho waters would be required to have a registration sticker fixed to the bow of each boat greater than 7 feet in length. Stickers would not be transferable between boats. Out of state boaters would be required to comply as well.
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