Moose Creek - Palmer Area

Moose Creek flows out of the Talkeetna Mtns and into the Matanuska River east of Palmer. The take-out is reached by the Glenn Hwy and the put-in is accessed off the Buffalo Mine Road. Proceed up the Buffalo Mine Road approximately 4 miles on pavement and another 3 miles on dirt before reaching No Trespassing signs at the end of the road. A small dirt track on the right leads to a bridge over Moose Creek. You can put in here or bushwhack/hike further upstream, although I don’t know exactly what you’ll encounter for river conditions upstream.

From this put-in the creek is fast action Class III for about 3 miles. Watch out for wood in the river, as there are roughly ten trees across this section. After about 3 miles the gradient lessens but the amount of wood in the river increases. I eventually bailed off the river after encountering multiple cottonwood logjams.

Although the water and rapids are quite fun at the 13’ level on the Moose Creek river gage, the sweepers and strainers are a major bummer. If you were able to keep going and reach the Glenn Highway, a mtn bike would complete the shuttle.

While Embick gives Moose Creek two stars in Fast and Cold I can’t say that I would recommend this one. A recent flooding event has rearranged this creek, making for a very messy run.

Didn’t Fish and Wildlife install a number of log jams and other barriers on this creek when they took out the waterfall in '06?

Just letting you guys know, 90 percent of the wood in upper Moose creek is gone.
If you want a good ride wait until the gage is above 300 cfs, this is 13.3 ft. or higher. All rocks are covered except the gigantic boulders, and at 150 fpm gradient it is fun for an after work no effort run. If you are standing on the bridge at the put in, you should see NO rocks downstream, and if water is flowing or nearly flowing out the creek left bank, it is good.
There is a very dangerous log jammed in a pile of rocks 150 yards past a point where a small side stream enters on the left, not far down from the put in. You will not see the log until your on it, so jump out on the right side of the creek walk down and choose your route. At strong flows you can go over most parts of the log if you choose, but I would check it out, you might choose river right instead. This is the beginning of the steep section, the continuous rapids go on and on.
You are going to find multitudes of boat size holes, tons of surfing, and two spots to avoid a swim. Watch for the room size rock where the whole stream plows into it, I use the eddy in the center to make the turn. Another spot, is a hole after the creek comes to the road for the second time and goes to the cliffs on a straight stretch. The hole is halfway down the stretch and is nearly river wide, it is not a good one just to drop into unless you are wanting to stall or a good surf ride. These sections are nothing at low or medium levels, so there’s the skinny.
I don’t think Embick ran Moose creek at the flows I have mentioned because he talks about quick reflexes to avoid rocks, you will not find these rocks, only pourovers, waves, and small holes :slight_smile: The highest I have ran it is around 325 cfs or 13.4 ft.,the lowest 120 cfs which is runnable but ultra rocky.
Take out in the lot below where the pavement ends to avoid the wood chocked, less entertaining lower section.
Anyway, I have used your sight for tons of great info and thought I would give an update in return.
Happy boating, MO

Anyone game for running this sometime soon; say a Satruday in September if the water level is above ~200 cfs.

Call me at 907-244-6610 (in Anchorage)

If you might want to join in on packraft &/or back-packrafting we will try to push this September’s weather and start as early as possible in spring 2010.