The Middle Fork of the Feather River is one of the most beautiful and difficult rivers in California. It should only be attempted by teams of expert rafters and kayakers with experience in remote wilderness. It's usually done as a 3-4 day trip so there's plenty of time to scout and portage rapids.

Beautiful granite on the Middle Fork of the Feather River

Beautiful granite on the Middle Fork of the Feather River

It is well described by the two main guide books about California whitewater.

"The gorge of the Middle Fork of the Feather is the most spectacular and most difficult river in this book: 32 miles of Class V - and worse - rapids in a remote, steep-walled canyon. Those who successfully navigate this river will share the wilderness adventure of a lifetime."California Whitewater, Cassady & Calhoun

"This is it! The Middle Fork of the Feather is the best self-supported trip in California"The Best Whitewater in California, Holbeck & Stanley

The Middle Fork of the Feather was recognized by the U.S. Congress as one of the original eight Wild and Scenic Rivers along with the Rogue River and Middle Fork of the Salmon River. It is less known than these two because the difficulty and remoteness of it's river canyon.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: Put-in at Nelson Point at a campground just downstream of the bridge.

Mile 1.5 Nelson Creek enters on river right. The whitewater picks up for the next 8 miles. The biggest rapid Chunky Monkey (V) should be scouted and can be portaged on the right.

Mile 9.5: Grizzly Creek enters on the right and Oddie Bar is a large clearing just downstream. The whitewater eases up a little for the next 5 miles.

Mile 14.5: Onion Valley Creek enters on the left and a footbridge for the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the river here. This is the beginning of Franklin Canyon and Franklin Falls (V) is just downstream. The next few miles have non-stop Class V including Hole in the Box (V).

Franklin Falls on the Middle Fork of the Feather River

Franklin Falls on the Middle Fork of the Feather River

Mile 22: Willow Creek enters from the right signaling Hartman's Bar which is just downstream on the left. Hartman's Bar is the location of the old Pacific Crest Trail bridge and one of the best campsites on the River. This is a great second or third night camp.

Mile 28: The Middle Fork of the Feather enters Devil's Canyon with steep granite walls on both sides of the river and many big Class V rapids.

One of the many great rapids in Devil's Canyon on the Middle Fork of the Feather River

One of the many great rapids in Devil's Canyon on the Middle Fork of the Feather River

Mile 29: Granite Dome Falls (V+) is portaged by most people on the right side. This is a long portage with a decent trail. It has been run and is a series of back to back Class V rapids with sieves everywhere.

Kayaker running the bottom drops of Granite Dome Falls

Kayaker running the bottom drops of Granite Dome Falls

Mile 32.5: Take-out at Milsap Bar. Downstream is the famous Class V+ Bald Rock Canyon.

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