The Lower Tilton River is a stunningly beautiful whitewater run with some wonderfully fun rapids in a tight canyon. It starts with a nice warm up followed by a canyon section with many Class III and IV Rapids. The trip ends with a two mile paddle across Mayfield Lake.

The Tilton typically flows from November to May and is highly rain dependent. River flows are very erratic and can rise quickly. Local paddlers often paddle it higher and lower than the recommended flows.

Wood is commonly lodged in the canyon so it's smart to ask boaters that have recently paddled it about recent strainers. The wood situation changes often so you'll want to pay close attention even after hearing the canyon is clear of wood.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: Put-in at the Highway 508 bridge near Bremer. The first few miles have fairly straightforward Class II and III rapids.

River access at the Highway 508 Bridge in Bremer

River access at the Highway 508 Bridge in Bremer

Mile 3.5: First Rapid (III+) can be scouted by catching a big eddy on the right.

First Rapid on the Lower Tilton River

First Rapid on the Lower Tilton River

Mile 4.2: Surf City (III) is has multiple fun surf waves as the river goes around a bend to the left. There's a nice beach on the left here to regroup.

Mile 4.8: Aaron's Beach is on the left as the river takes a sharp turn to the left. This is a nice place to regroup before entering the canyon. The rapids below downstream come in quick succession and it's good to pay attention to boat spacing.

Mile 5.2: Leap of Faith (IV) is the first rapid in the canyon and can be run either right or left at most flows.

Leap of Faith Rapid on the Tilton Rapid at 2600 cfs

Leap of Faith Rapid on the Tilton Rapid at 2600 cfs

Mile 5.4: The Pinch is a place where the canyon walls are narrow and wood can collect. Catch an eddy on the right just above a bend to the left to scout for wood. There is a rapid below there that has a monster hole on river left at some flows.

Mile 6.5: Scary Gary (IV) has a nearly wide river wide ledge hole on the left and a rocky ramp on the right.

Scary Gary | Photo by Brian Vogt

Scary Gary | Photo by Brian Vogt

Mile 6.7: Boulder Garden (IV) is a long rapid after a sharp left turn.

Mile 7: Paddle into Mayfield Lake and paddle 2 miles to Ike Kinswa State Park.

Mile 9.5: Take-out at Ike Kinswa State Park.

Written by
Zach Collier and Aaron Howard

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