Escanaba - C) Boney Falls Dam to CR420 (2 to 17.5 miles)

Escanaba, Michigan, US


C) Boney Falls Dam to CR420 (2 to 17.5 miles)

Usual Difficulty II(III) (varies with level)
Length 17.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 10 fpm
Max Gradient 20 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04059000 1500 - 6000 cfs I(II) 01h15m 763 cfs (too low)
Generally tame but runnable low flows. Gauge (870 sq.mi. drainage) lies on this reach, thus will very accurately reflect actual flows in this reach.

River Description

The run is mostly flat and swift-water. The riverbed is generally open (unobstructed channel), though waves may build at higher levels.

It appears (from Satellite photos on Google) the run may start with about 1.5 miles of good gradient (though little apparent features) before things peter out.

Approximately four miles into the run, a set of irregular sloping ledges is encountered. These ledges are stretched over about a mile or two of river, which may be accessible by nearby road. (We do not have specific information regarding viability of access at top and bottom of this stretch.) Some boaters may wish to check this out for possible 'park-and-play', or for a short trip from the listed put-in. See the 'Directions' tab for more information.

Additional features appear downstream, though far more spread out. The final stretch (may 2 miles or so) is on backwaters from the dam at Chandler Falls, just downstream of our listed take-out.

The resolution on Google Maps for this area is excellent. We highly recommended going to the 'Map' tab, clicking 'USGS Aerial', double-clicking the put-in (or the middle icon, 'begin ledge sequence'), zooming in to the maximum resolution available, and doing a 'virtual walk' of this reach!

The following video (via YouTube, from a TV show) features a commercial rafting outfitter running this section of river. We have set start- and end-times to capture just the video segment highlighting the action on this run. You can view the full show by dragging the YouTube 'slider' to the beginning (or any point) of the show. Doing so will 'erase' our set start- and end-times. Hitting reload/refresh on your browser will re-enable those points.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-09-18 12:40:29

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.2Possible playable wave/holeII
1.5Robin G RoadN/AAccess
2.5Confluence, Squaw CreekN/A
3.3Rocky shoalsN/A
3.6*Possible* access pointN/A
3.7Begin ledge sequenceIIPlayspot
3.9Second+Third LedgeN/A
4.2Hunters Brook FallsN/AWaterfall
4.7Back-to-back-to-back very minor ledgesN/A
5.1Final ledge in sequenceIAccess Playspot
5.7*Possible* access pointN/A
6.9Minor ledgesN/A
7.0USGS active gaugeN/A
11.8Possible diagonal bedrock ledge/wavesN/A
12.3Bedrock slabsN/A
13.9possible minor wave/holeN/A

Rapid Descriptions

Robin G Road (Class N/A, Mile 1.5)

(Mile marker / waypoint)

Confluence, Squaw Creek (Class N/A, Mile 2.5)

If access nearer the ledge sequence downstream proves inaccessible (private and unable to secure permission), this may prove the nearest possibly less disputed point of access.

Rocky shoals (Class N/A, Mile 3.3)

A rocky shoals slants across the river. At low flows, river-left will likely offer best passage (with minimum of hanging up). At moderate flows this may create some slight riffles and rips. At high flows, it is likely to be well-covered and not create any noticeable effect.

*Possible* access point (Class N/A, Mile 3.6)

It is likely that this is private property, and that permission would be required to drive in, park, and access the river from this point. If permission is granted (or if above guess is incorrect and this is somehow public), this would give access above the best stretch of ledges and features on the run.

Begin ledge sequence (Class II, Mile 3.7)

After nearly 2 miles of flatwater, a-mile-and-a-half of river starting here contains a few (widely spaced) ledges. Boaters may wish to check them out for possible park-and-play action or for a short run.


Second+Third Ledge (Class N/A, Mile 3.9)

The second and third short ledges in this sequence come very close together, slanting opposite directions diagonally across the river.

Hunters Brook Falls (Class N/A, Mile 4.2)

Hunters Brook enters on river-right. Just upstream it pours over a fine little falls. We have no specific knowledge as to whether conditions favor running this drop (I.E., how tall it actually is, and whether there is a decent approach and depth of pool below). There is a private residence on the 'upstream' side (I.E., would be river-left when running Hunters Brook), so we would advise scouting from downstream (river-right of Hunters Brook). Best action is likely all within 0.1 mile upstream (to about the driveway/bridge for the aforementioned residence).

Anyone care to "Add a Comment' to inform us whether this merits a carry-up?

Back-to-back-to-back very minor ledges (Class N/A, Mile 4.7)

At this point, it appears there is a series of back-to-back very small ledges or bedrock slides, likely to make some sweet wide waves.

Final ledge in sequence (Class I, Mile 5.1)

The final (small) ledge in the sequence of ledges.

*Possible* access point (Class N/A, Mile 5.7)

It appears there may be an access point from an unimproved (dirt) road which crosses Mosquito Creek then runs down just past its confluence with the Escanaba. *IF* this is not gated or posted as private, it would provide handy access to run just 2.12 miles containing this best gradient on the run. Again, both the upper point (at 3.57 miles) and this point may both be private, requiring permission from owners.

Minor ledges (Class N/A, Mile 6.9)

Just above "I Road"/519, a couple of minor ledges appear. There may be parking/access on the downstream/river-right side of this bridge, which could allow using this as egress for a shortened run.

USGS active gauge (Class N/A, Mile 7.0)

USGS active gauge at this location showing drainage area of 870 square miles.

Possible diagonal bedrock ledge/waves (Class N/A, Mile 11.8)

It appears there may be a couple diagonal bedrock ledges/slides in the river here which may cause a couple interesting waves at some optimum flows.

Bedrock slabs (Class N/A, Mile 12.3)

From the prior ledge/waves, bedrock lines the shores and riverbottom. At this point, a significant hump of bedrock rises in the river-right half of the flow. At very low flows, this will squeeze all flow to the left. At somewhat higher (moderate) flows, it may create some wave features here. At high flow, it may likely make very little disturbance. Immediately downstream, a very minor ledge may also create a wave at some flows.

Powerlines (Class N/A, Mile 13.0)

(Pretty much just a waypoint/mile-marker.)

possible minor wave/hole (Class N/A, Mile 13.9)

Far to river-left (with a private residence upshore through trees), there appears to be a small disruption (ledge) which (at some flows) may create a playable feature.

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