BIGWATER's Submission - Entered on 1/19/2015 6:25:00 AM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 4/28/2017 6:26:33 PM)
TILTON RIVER AB BEAR CANYON C
||NWRFC | FC Page
3rd Party Gauge
||4/28/2017 5:45:00 PM
Minimum Recomended Level: 800 cfs Maximum Recomended Level: 4000 cfs
Put-in has easy access for rafts or kayaks at bridge crossing along SR 508. Take out is at Ike Kinswa State Park. You need a Discover Pass to park there. Getting to the takeout requires a 2 mile flatwater paddle at the upstream end of Mayfield lake.
To reach the put-in from Ike Kinswa, drive back west and up to the Y-intersection, go north on Cinebar Road to the T intersection with SR 508. Turn right and continue east on SR 508 for about 7 miles to the first (low) bridge that crosses the Tilton. There is parking and easy river access on the upstream river left side of the Tilton River bridge.
Take exit 68 (Rt. 12 E towards Morton Yakima) follow for about 12 miles until sign for Ike Kinswa State park, Sign will point you left onto SR 122 (Harmony Rd.). Drive until fork in the road, at fork take the right road and follow for another 1.5-2.0 miles, take left into Ike Kinswa State Park. Park towards back of lot near the grassy field next to the lake. Be sure to display that Discover Pass.
Park has a gate that they lock. Park hours SUMMER: 6:30 am - Dusk. WINTER 8:am - Dusk. THIS IS HIGHLY ENFORCED. I had a friend get locked in there recently, don't allow your safety meetings to drag on too long or you might spend the night in the park. Don't forget the Discover pass ($30 annually) or a $10/day user fee.
The easiest flows are between 1200 and 1800cfs on the Tilton gauge. Above 2000 cfs the canyon becomes swirly.
This run is a little off the beaten path and has a lengthy paddle both into and out of this gem of a canyon, but it has some amazing play waves at different flows along with quality rapids. This run is a favorite among many Washington paddlers, but use your judgement if you have limited class IV experience because once you are in the gorge you are committed to the run and most of the rapids are difficult to scout or portage.
Run Description [Season: winter/spring]
---- Edited by geomorph on 11/9/2013 ----
The log jam shown in the ridiculous picture above is now completely gone! The log jam was a fixture for over 10 years, but has finally cleared from both sides of the island rock!
The run description was edited to include video references: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Ew4GrckkM
From the launch, float downstream through swift class II for a little more than two miles. Just past the gauge station, the river will make a 90 degree right with class III rapid followed in 100 yards by a 90 degree left with another class III rapid. This second rapid provides great eddy serviced surfing at some flows (~2000 cfs) and marks the beginning of the canyon.
The first major rapid of the canyon (a class III+ series of big waves and little holes) is just downstream. This rapid is typically run straight down the middle to the pinch where you typically want to be either left or right of a pourover. The rapid can be scouted and portaged from river right, and boat scouted by catching the eddy by the waterfall half way down (video ref. 4 - 45 sec).
Float for about quarter mile down to the next left bend and start watching for surf waves. This is surf city (video 1:24-2:15).
Easy class III rapids follow until you pass a small waterfall coming in on your left. The next horizon line marks a big fluffy drop that is typically run straight down the middle (video 2:36-3:15). Be ready to brace.
Just around the corner, about 50 yards downstream from this drop is the playhole or donkey flip hole (video 3:16-4:02). It has washed out a bit, but may offer some play for flips at lower flows (e.g., 800-1200 cfs). Continue past the playhole and enjoy easy class III for another quarter mile. At the next big left bend, look for another good play wave with beach eddy access on the left (video 5:08-5:35).
From here, the river continues straight for a couple of hundred yards. An inflatable yellow raft abandoned high on the right bank serves as an indicator that you're entering the crux part of the upper canyon. The first rapid is class III funny water that moves you in an ‘S’ starting left-middle to right middle and back to the left (video 5:38-6:02).
About ~75 yards downstream of here is ‘Leap of Faith’. Leap of faith can be scouted with some difficulty from river left. At higher flows (e.g., > 2500cfs), the rapid can be skirted by bouncing down the rocks on the left, but it is typically run on the right near the sheer cliff wall (video 6:30-6:50). If running the right slot, be ready to move left half way through the rapid to avoid the big hole near the bottom right. The eddy on the left can be a good spot to aim for(video 6:51-7:04). The rock that required the ‘leap of faith’ has long since disappeared but beware of the funny water here.
Continue through the squirrely water to where the creek comes in from the right. Be careful here. The next left is blind and can accumulate wood so it's worth boat scouting the corner before proceeding.
After the constriction, you'll come into another horizon line marked by a large rock on river left. The easiest way through this rapid is to tuck behind the rock from the middle, moving right through a series of small holes and wavetrains, moving back left at the bottom (video 7:05-7:50)
Below this, the canyon gets easier again for a while. Check out the waterfalls and look for play waves.
About 2 miles past leap of faith, the river will seriously canyon up again and you’ll find yourself floating up to the horizon line of 'Scary Gary Falls'. The typical line is on the right, about 10 feet from the right banks, that is an easy slide; but at higher water (~2500-3000) you can boof over the rock on the middle left. There is also a ledge drop on far river left that can be good but tends to be a little manky. Paddler’s hungry for more vertical than they found upstream might want to check out the boof, but be sure to boof out or you'll discover what Gary found Scary in the horseshoe pocket tucked behind the boulders in the middle slot.
Just downstream of Scary Gary, the river will make a big left into a very wide boulder garden. The boulder garden marks the entrance to the ‘crux’ rapid (class IV). This rapid is very difficult to scout and can only be portaged (on the left) with herculean effort. The typical line starts left through the boulder garden. About half way through, move middle as you drop into the rapid. From here it is fast read-and-run class IV that often involves bracing your way through a series of big waves/holes (video 10:47-11:44). Look for rest-eddies on the right.
The last rapid in the series is run down the left. At this point, pat yourself on the back and try to enjoy the 2 mile flat-water paddle out.