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Canyon Creek (Lewis)    2 - Fly Creek to Merwin Reservoir™ ©
Class IV+
Avg Gradient 120 fpm

River Mapplet
Put In Longitude : -122.31574 Putin
Put In Latitude : 45.9401474
Take Out Longitude : -122.37258 Take Out
Take Out Latitude : 45.9604034
County : Skamania Shuttle
   Gauge Information (Professor Paddle updated levels from CANYON CREEK NEAR AMBOY, WA at 7/19/2024 6:40:09 AM)
Gauge Forecast Height Current Flow Authority Physical Update
CANYON CREEK NEAR AMBOY, WA NWRFC | FC Page 2.92  42.7 cfs  USGS - NWIS 07-19-2024 05:30:00
Minimum Recomended Level:  400 cfs     Maximum Recomended Level:  1300 cfs 

  Putin Details

Put in at the bridge at the confluence where Fly Creek enters.

  Takeout Details

Take out at Merwin Lake at the bridge on R. Left.

 River Alerts   ( Add Alert ) Pinned Forum Threads
 gauge appears lower than what''s in the river. use EF Lewis gauge to cross-reference. - Posted by: water wacko on 4/21/2011 12:44:00 PM -  [Remove Alert]

NW Creeking CompWhitewater Forum
NW Creeking Competition this weekend!Whitewater Forum
Canyon Creek Lewis Friday...Wood?Whitewater Forum

Features on this run

Feature Name Class
Swizle Sticks III-IV
Prelude IV-V
Thrasher IV-V
Kahuna IV-V
Champange & Hammering Spot IV-V
Toby's IV-V
Add a Feature | Re-Order Features

  Other Issues

2011 Update:
HooRah!! The giant log jam to defy all log jams has been cleaned out by an even more gigantic recent flood!! This logjam kept a lot of local boaters as well as many who've never run it from enjoying this fine run for the last few years. Well now the whole run is clean! So get over to Canyon Creek. Re-aquaint yourself or explore it for your first time, either way this run is fantastic- one of the very best in the region!

NOTE: levels are linked now to the CC gauge, not the EF Lewis gauge, as was used in the past.

*Jed Hawkes 4/18/11
Ran it on Sunday 4/17/11 at 1500 cfs. The locals were saying that the gauge is off they were all saying that it was closer to 2000 or more. Something to keep in mind.

  Fun Facts

Canyon Creek of the East Fork Lewis Drainage is a well known Washington classic. At the medium to low end of flows it is IV+ and a superb new creeker run. At the medium high to high end of flows it becomes significantly more pushy and intimidating. However at these flows some of the drops clean up and the rapids become more fluid to run. The Boofs only get better.

   Run Description

Levels: Recommended levels vary from med-low to med-high. Those familiar with the run will run this at higher levels, but it gets pushier and many of the drops become class 5. The levels around 500-600 are good for first timers. Low water runs down to about 300 are possible as well.

From the put in you will encounter a mile or so of class II-III. As the rapids become shorter, steeper, and more pool drop keep your eyes open. Below one of the class III drops the river will bend to the left and enter the gorge. There is an eddy on the left above the entrance to catch your breath and eyeball everything. From the eddy you will distinctly see where the canyon pinches down into the gorge.

The first horizon line out of the eddy is Entrance Drop. It is a short, mankish drop; run center right. This puts you in the eddy above Swizzle Sticks. Run the obvious line down the right side into the gorge. You will now be in a surgey, boiling gorge that will rollercoaster you around several bends. There are no major hazards in here (as of writing this), enjoy the ride. You will exit this mini gorge just upstream of the bungee bridge.

In this river wide eddy you are immediately above S Turn. Boof the slot immediately in front of you and make the turn to the left. Follow the S, just make sure that you are straight at the bottom. At higher flows you can get hammered here if you aren't on your toes.

After S turn is Terminator, almost nonexistent after the 2006 floods. If it's higher water hang left through the turns to avoid the large breaking wave hole in the center of the rapid. Continue on through 2 class III rapids to the Thrasher twins.

Prelude to Thrasher is a nasty broken ledge with an undercut in the left corner and a potentially problematic current dynamic on the entrance. At low water the danger is less, at high water you can run the far right sneak. At high high water sneak on the far left. At Med flows ride of the left side of the center rock with a lot of right angle and don't screw it up.

Next horizon line is Thrasher. Thrasher is a little cleaner. At med or low flows run the left channel with some right angle. At med high to high flows bood the center rock. At high high flows sneak on the left.

After Thrasher you enter the boulder garden (class IV). Read and run ending up on the left side as the river pinches down near the end. Run the two ledges at the end on the left. If it is high high everything will be flushed except for the final ledge which will form a massive nearly river wide hole. Approach from the RIGHT, and shoot it through the very right corner.

You are now in a small boulder garden approaching Kahuna. Catch the eddy at the lip of the drop on the right to scout or fire it up down the center right with some left angle and a left boof.

Kahuna is great and very easy to run but there are some potential problems. Most beginners tentatively peel out of the eddy onto the right corner, run the ride side, and get pushed into the undercut on the right side of the pool. To avoid this get some left angle and a good right boof. As the levels go higher the boils push harder toward the undercut right. You can also just plug the center; you will go very deep but surface free of the problem areas.

Below Kahuna there are two class III boulder gardens. Both are manky, take the first one down the left and the second one far right.

The Boulder Garden has a change (4/17/11). The final ledge is no longer there and is a flume type rapid. Because the water isn't backed up by the ledge it is moving faster after the rooster tail ledge and the pool that used to be below the ledge is no longer there.

The next and final set of whitewater is a series of ledges which are river wide and empty you into the resvoir.

Starting at Triple drop make your way down through the first set of 3 clean ledges before running carefully left on Toby's.

Submitted by Matt Kurle - Canyon Creek as of January 2011 @ 950cfs on the USGS gauge:

The following level information refers to the EF Lewis gauge and is listed for historical reasons, or as guide if the CC gauge is not operating:

600-800 Low but okay
800-1100 Med Low, great first time level
1100-1500 Med, starts to get pushy but drops still unclean, watch yourself
1500-2200 High, the sweet spot
2200-? High high, character will begin to change to big water. She still goes.

The character of the run at flows below 2200 is pool drop with one significant boulder garden.


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Trip NameTrip Date
Trip Report TitleDate
C.C.Lewis: Curiosity Sati...4/11/2010

Beta Trail    
SubmissionBeta Submitted BySubmitted On
Jed Hawkes's 4/18/2011 Run SubmissionJed Hawkes4/18/2011 12:19:00 PM
JoesKayak's 2/9/2011 Run SubmissionJoesKayak2/9/2011 2:12:00 PM
kurle's 1/26/2011 Run Submissionkurle1/26/2011 12:30:00 PM
jP's 1/25/2011 Run SubmissionjP1/25/2011 3:15:00 PM
jP's 1/25/2011 Run SubmissionjP1/25/2011 3:14:00 PM
James's 4/9/2007 Run SubmissionJames4/9/2007 8:26:00 PM

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