South Fork of Eagle River

Brad is this rain bringing the South Fork up Friday evening?

I am probably not up to the mid or lower sections you describe but might it be worth my walking up to Symphony Lake on Saturday 8/15 to try to run that section.

In a solo canoe I have run Six Mile 1st & 2nd Canyons at about 9.2 but . . . in a PR I do not know how far I want to push having just purchased the boat this past Monday.

The Ship Creek gauge is reading an estimated 5.07,1,1,1,1,1,1,1

The Southfork is not high enough to be boatable as of Friday August 14th 2009. Perhaps after a few more days of rain.

Now Now, Brad?


I floated the South Fork last night, from the bridge just below Hanging Valley to the bridge at South Creek Road. Water levels were sufficient for a fun and awesome run! A little scraping here and there, but nothing other than expected for some SoFo style butt-boating. A couple of things to be aware of:

  • There are actually 3 bridges that you need to portage. 1 below Harp Road (the red bridge), another is made of some logs laid over the river on a screaming left hand turn, and the other is a foot bridge near the take out. Most of the bridges are easy to avoid as they have good eddies. The log foot bridge can be dicey if you dont get out, as there is a nice boulder garden drop in the middle of it.
  • The most difficult rapids start well below the foot bridge. There is a great 4’ ledge drop/pour over with a nice boil at the bottom, very fun!
  • There were no river wide sweepers, but a little bit of wood on the banks and strainers in mid river. They were all avoidable with good paddling skills.
  • I actually pinned my raft which required a Z-drag.

A video and TR can be found here:

Enjoy and be safe!

concur, interesting run; next time i’ll bring a chainsaw…

I ran the middle segment today and had a blast. It gets quite rowdy below the red driveway bridge. I wanted to do it again but I felt like I may be pushing my luck. A couple of those drops are no joke. If anyone wants to get out and do it this week after work let me know. Any night but tuesday works for me. I wouldn’t mind checking the lower segment out as well.


I floated the entire section of the SoFo from the upper bridge to the take out at Hiland Road. The lower section from S. Creek to Hiland has a minor bit of wood, but it is navigable. It is a much steeper drop/mile than the middle segment. The rapids are continuous, with difficult micro-eddy’s. The last 1/4 mile is the trickiest, with a technical “s-turn”, followed by a low but negotiable sweeper, followed by a boulder garden drop - that if you enter sideways, you’ll be upside down through the culvert. There is a nice eddy on river left about 50’ past the culvert. There are no portages required, just the occasional technical paddling and boat dumping due to taking on water. Overall, an awesome technical creek run!

Four of us ran South Fork Saturday afternoon, July 24. Ship Creek gauge read 500 cfs if that means anything.

Lots of photos at

There was more wood than we had guessed might be there based on earlier posts but only 1 dead black spruce sticking 2/3 of the way across the river from right to left gave us more thrill than we had expected.

Ran the South Fork on July 27th, 2010. The water level is good and should be for at least 24 hours for anyone looking to do some local buttboating. There was some wood in the river but we were able to boat around all of it (but keep on your toes). We also portaged the usual bridges. Lastly, we took out at the first culvert so I cannot speak about the river between the culverts (or beyond).
Happy Boating!

beginning packrafter here, have been out a bit with it. had some questions on the south fork of ER.

how far up do you put in? I have hiked back that ways many times, so i am familiar with the land

are there many tricky/dicey parts?

take out near the road/parking lot?

thanks for any advice!

just realized there was more than one page on this thread.

i was just looking at the upper river, takeout at the road near the state park parking lot


We ran the upper South Fork Friday night and OH WOW was that fun. We put in about as close to Eagle Lake as possible and ran drop after twisty, turny, often brushy, always sharp bouldery drop for about 2+ miles back to the foot bridge. Since we put on the creek at 8 PM there was not time before ~10:45 PM sunset to run the middle section as well.

Much of the same gang of paddlers had run the middle section, some once and some 2x this past week. We concurred that the Upper is even more ‘just plain fun’ than the middle which is steeper and a bit more technical. This is not, in our collective opinion, class II as reported in earlier postings on this section. We call it fast, twisty class III.

All in all a good time . . . well, except that we got holes in 3 of the 7 boats and one dry suit.

Ended it all with a pitcher of suds at Pizza Man.

For the photos and more comments click here: :laughing:

Popular creek right now it seems…

Myself and four other packrafters ran the upper and middle sections Saturday. Three of us continued on and ran the lower section.

I found the creek to be a lot of fun, especially the middle and lower sections. The only dicey part is right before the culvert on the lower section. If the middle section is pushing your comfort zone you could still run the lower and take out as soon as you can clearly see the road on your right. This will leave you a very short walk to the bridge, but you could skip the crazy switchback drops with overhanging brush before the culvert. Of course you could just run it, but be prepared to make some quick moves!

Put in just above first bridge and floated down with Danny Tuesday night. 8/3/10 Fun little Float

Does anyone have any recent info on how the South Fork is running? Is there any way to tell if it’s do-able via the gauges?


Go by the Ship Creek flow. In my experience if it is less than 5ft then it can get pretty boney. I have ran it a little under 5 but much more fun when it is running higher.


Sounds about right. I ran it last night at 4.9 by the Ship creek gage and wanted a few more inches on the middle section. Lots of starts and stops as it was. There is currently a log blocking almost all flow not far above the log walkover bridge. Not too hazardous, but it’s blocking a nice looking chute.

Does anyone know what the tree situation is like on the middle and lower sections? I heard there was a sweeper before the crazy lower take-out, is it still there?

Would be a fun run right now with ship at 5.3.

With the help of my chainsaw and machete the lower section of the South Fork is now runnable. There is a small sweeper between the second and third bridges on the middle section that can be easily portaged.

Ship Creek gauge read 5.3 when we paddled it. End of video shows the hairpin turns before the culvert.

I will probably skip the middle section if I run this again.