With clear water and steep, challenging drops the "North Fork" is the quintessential Class IV+ California run. In addition to fun whitewater this is a remarkably beautiful gorge with beautiful flowers in the spring.
Most paddlers do the jam packed 5 miles from Iowa Hill Bridge to Yankee Jims Road but you can also continue downstream to enjoy more beautiful scenery and fun Class II+ rapids. At flows above 2000 cfs this river gets considerably more continuous and more difficult. Please be careful at higher flows.
Mile 0: Put-in below the Iowa Hill Bridge on Colfax-Foresthill Road.
Mile 0.4: Slaughter's Sluice (IV) is a good warm-up rapid that will give you a sense of the rapids downstream.
Mile 0.8: Chamberlain Falls (IV+) is an eight foot drop through a narrow slot. There is a dangerous recirculating eddy at the bottom.
Mile 1.1: Tongue and Groove (IV-) has a distinct horizon line.
Mile 1.6: Zigzag (IV) requires some zigging and some zagging.
Mile 2.4: Achilles' Heel (IV) can be a tricky rapid at some flows. Just below here is Bogus Thunder, one of the more difficult rapids on the North Fork.
Mile 2.7: Bogus Thunder (IV+) is a challenging zig zag through some rocks. Scout from the rleft.
Mile 3.3: Staircase (IV) is a tough rapid with three distinct drops.
Mile 5: River access just below Shirttail Creek. You can take out here or continue downstream for some fun Class II+.
Mile 9: Take-out at Ponderosa Way Bridge.