Saturday, November 22, 2008


Carson River, California & Nevada - Whitewater Paddleboating Overview.

Kayaking, Rafting & Canoeing Guide - Alpine County California & Douglas County, Carson City, Lyon County, Churchill County, Nevada, USA.

Whitewater paddleboating runs on the wild & scenic Carson River. Be prepared for cold water and cold air on this high elevation run with nearby snowy mountaintops often in view. The elevation at Hangman's Bridge is 5500 feet. Also beware the many hazardous dams & barbed wire fences built across the river & creeks in the Carson River watershed. It is illegal to build barbed wire fences across navigable streams. Some boaters portage these deadly fence hazards, while others bring wire cutters.

Whitewater Boating Runs on Carson River, Silver Creek, Hot Springs Creek, Pleasant Valley Creek, Markleeville Creek - locations of put-ins and take-outs.

These locations are estimated from guidebooks and trip reports. Many alternate river access points are available. Always use your best judgement to choose safe & legal put-ins and take-outs.

      River & Run name (whitewater class).

A. Carson River EF Silver King Valley to Wolf Creek (class III-IV, 5-6 miles)
      put-in N 38.57494 W 119.63528
      take-out N 38.60912 W 119.68647
B. Silver Creek (class III-IV, 2 miles)
      put-in N 38.60765 W 119.76621
      take-out N 38.63846 W 119.72342 Hwy 4 bridge over EF Carson river
C. Carson River EF Wolf Creek to Hangman's Bridge (Class III, 9 miles)
      put-in N 38.60912 W 119.68647
      take-out N 38.68961 W 119.76531
D. Hot Springs Creek (Class II-III, 4 miles)(beware fences)
      put-in N 38.69782 W 119.83734
      take-out N 38.69822 W 119.77409 (on Markleeville Ck)
E. Pleasant Valley Creek (Class II-III, ~5 miles)(beware fences)
      put-in N 38.64731 W 119.83260
      take-out N 38.69117 W 119.78981
      alt take-out N 38.69822 W 119.77409 (on Markleeville Ck)
F. Carson River EF Hangman's Bridge to Hwy 395 (Class II, 20 miles)
      put-in N 38.68961 W 119.76531
      take-out N 38.87476 W 119.69040
G. Carson River EF Hwy395 to Hwy206 bridge (Class I-II, ~12 miles, beware dams & fences)
      put-in N 38.87714 W 119.68888
      take-out N 38.99791 W 119.82402

H. Carson River WF Hope Valley (Class I-III, ~6 miles)
      put-in N 38.73045 W 119.92899 (Hope Valley Campground)
      take-out N 38.77573 W 119.90144 (Sorensens)
I. Carson River WF Sorensens to Hwy88/89 bridge (Class V+p)
J. Carson River WF Hwy88/89 bridge to Diamond Valley Road (Class II-IV, 3 miles, beware fences)
      put-in N 38.76633 W 119.84685
      take-out N 38.76866 W 119.80741
K. Carson River WF Diamond Valley Rd to Hwy206 bridge (Class I-II, ~14 miles, beware dams & fences)
      put-in N 38.76866 W 119.80741
      take-out N 38.99791 W 119.82402

L. Carson River Hwy 206 bridge to Carson River Park (Class I-II, ~10-12 miles, beware dams & fences)
      put-in N 38.99791 W 119.82402
      take-out N 39.14244 W 119.70566
M. Carson River Eagle Valley Run (Class I-II, 3.3 miles)
      put-in Carson River Park N 39.14244 W 119.70566
      take-out Morgan Mill Road N 39.18224 W 119.70634
N. Carson River Brunswick Canyon Run (Class II-III, 9.3 miles)
      put-in Morgan Mill Road N 39.18224 W 119.70634
      take-out Santa Maria Ranch N 39.22288 W 119.59549
O. Carson River Dayton to Lahonton Reservoir (Class I-II, ~20 miles, beware dams)
      put-in Santa Maria Ranch N 39.22288 W 119.59549
      take-out above the reservoir N 39.33655 W 119.15119
P. Carson River Lahonton Reservoir to Fallon (Class I-II, ~20 miles, beware dams & fences)
      put-in below the reservoir N 39.46446 W 119.06240
      take-out N 39.47980 W 118.81508

Carson River Aquatic Trail

New & improved river access locations on the Carson River Aquatic Trail are now completed. This includes the Carson River Eagle Valley Run (see run M above) and the Carson River Brunswick Canyon Run (see run N above).

Carson River Map - put-in locations for whitewater runs.

• Click Map button for roads or Topo button for topographic map.
• Markers on the river map show locations of put-ins listed above (A, B, C, etc.).
• Point or DoubleClick on the red markers to see their names.
More instructions for map users.
Full-Screen River Map: Carson River put-in locations.

Carson River Aquatic Trail Map

This map provides road information for put-in & take-out locations and river information for rapids & dams on the run. Download the map in pdf format: Map of Carson River Aquatic Trail - Carson City government.

Online River Guides & River Flow Data for Paddle Boating.

Carson River Kayaking & Rafting Whitewater Directory.
(Display options - alphabetical 100. See section 1.)

Printed Guidebooks - Carson River.

Paddling Northern California by Charlie Pike, 2001. (pg. 246-249)
Best Whitewater in California, 3rd Edition 1998. (pg. 303-305)
California Whitewater - A Guide to the Rivers, 3rd Edition 1995. (pg. 96-101)
Ann Dwyer's Easy Waters of California North, 2000. (pg. 294-305)
Sierra Whitewater - A Paddler's Guide ... 1974. (pg. 166-168)
California Road & River Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.

Carson River Wild & Scenic Whitewater River Trip Reports NEEDED !!

Please send in reports on your Carson River trips. I will gladly post or link to well-written, whitewater paddleboating trip reports from guest authors, particularly if boating pictures and/or videos are provided. Thanks to Charles Albright for trip reports on runs A, B, D, E, G, J, K, L, O (See above.)
Carson River whitewater rafting & kayaking access improvements 27april2010.
EF Carson River Kayaking video - laketahoeG 03july2009.
Carson River rafting - Terry's World 16june2009.
Carson River rafting photos - skylinenet 06june2009
EF Carson River photos - vanilladh 16may2009.
Carson River Rafting - 17may2008.
Carson River Aquatic Trail is Magnificent - 17may2008.
Rafting EF Carson River video - kurtikus61 14may2008.
Carson River rafting photos - skylinenet 12june2006
E.Fk. Carson River rafting photos - skylinenet 19may2002

Whitewater River Recreation & Conservation.

• Parts of the Carson River are protected within the California Wild & Scenic Rivers Program.
Carson River Conservation & Recreation Directory. (Display options - alphabetical 100. Section 1=whitewater, 2=rafting, 3=conservation, 4=fishing, 5=camping-hiking, 6=local-info)

More about:
Using these whitewater river paddleboating guides - BRT Kayaking.
How to use whitewater river paddleboating guides.
• Rivers & creeks nearby: Truckee River, Walker River, Great Basin Rivers of CA NV - Regional Overview.
California-Nevada Whitewater River Guides for kayakers, canoeists & rafters.

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Regarding the recent interest in the 'new' Carson River runs on CFS: When I used to live in Tahoe years back, the Carson River was on our annual river circuit through the Sierras due to it's remote beauty and proximity, but we were always cautious about it due to it's reputation for being contaminated from heavy metals that were used in mining throughout the area.

So just to advise and not to rain on a parade, be aware that in the area of some of the 'new runs' shown on maps recently there were consistent recorded levels of contamination that exceeded government standards - which can be pretty lenient at times - for mercury and other heavy metals. Most of these 'hot' areas start after the river begins to leave the Carson Valley in Nevada. But one major Superfund Site can still drain into the most common section, the Hangman's Bridge run. The Leviathan Mine Superfund site may still not be completely cleaned up. The containment ponds here would tend to overflow into a nearby creek, which then drains into the Carson River about two thirds of the way down the run, every season at peak runoff.

Enjoy this beautiful and fun river, and take due care, you just might want to do some due diligence before eating the fish and/or going for prolonged swims in some areas.

Warm regards, John
(from the CFS listserver)
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