The majority of water in the South Fork Salmon comes from a glacier
high in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. The rest of the water flows out of
the Russian Wilderness, guaranteeing first rate water quality on the
South Fork Salmon, even when it’s flooding. Referred to as,
"Gorge Run" aka "Matthews Creek" aka "Limestone Bluffs" run of the
South Fork Salmon is a classic no matter what you call it.Oregon
great write-up for the South Fork. Typical to the Salmon drainage, at
lower flows (500-700) the run isn't as pushy but it starts to get a bit
rocky with a few chunky rapids, and at ideal flows (1200-1600) it
starts to get pushy with big holes, but is very padded out and
Initially the rapids are spaced but pick up into a quick mini gorge,
with one rapid occasionally portaged. After the mini gorge rapids
spread out again, until it nears “Amusement Park” a
rapid in a mini gorge that is just so much fun. Just before the
wonderful "Amusement Park" is a smaller rapid of similar style.
Thomas entering the unnamed rapid.
"420" finishes by punching through several holes.
McQuoid in Amusement Park at lower flows. About
to exit the park.
Just a few rapids seperate the "Amusement Park" from the "Final Gorge".
One of my favorites is a long, multiple move boulder garden.
Thomas boofing his way into the boulder garden.
working his way through the moves of the sweet rapid.
taking the left door at the top.
South Fork Salmon generally has decent pools between all the rapids.
author dropping into the final gorge on the South Fork Salmon.
of 2/16/08 new wood has surfaced in the first of the three final drops.
The final gorge is three decent sized rapids of different character.
The first is the mankiest on the left as pictured above, but a nice
right line also exists. In my opinion the hole at the bottom of the
right line has gotten softer over the last few years, and the
combination of newer "ride over everything" creek boats and a softer
hole make the right line much more desirable.
in the gorge is a nice pinch rapid that's always fun.Brian
"420" on the second rapid.
Thomas on the same.
out view of the gorge and next to last rapid.
If it is your first time on the South Fork Gorge, make sure you plan
for a full day and plenty of scouts, there are several major hazards in
the river that you don't want to go near. On the other hand if flows
are juicy and you can find someone to route you through the rapids, the
whole run can take less than an hour, resulting in some great laps.
Take out at Matthews Creek Campground or River Access, and you can
either put-in on the steep trail from the pull out just upstream of the
Limestone Bluffs, or drive upstream another mile to the steep dirt road
has a great estimate for flows.
It's easier lower and gets
quite full class V at 2,000.