The nearest online gage (located near Prichard) is well below the confluence with Teepee Creek, which is nearly equal in volume to the North Fork. For the best indication of level, check under the take out bridge. There is no staff gage, but look for the North Fork to be bankfull. Peak run off is around the end of April / beginning of May, which makes access to this run difficult as most roads are still snowed in then. This is extremely hard run to catch, and usually requires several scouting trips to determine road conditions.
This is the roadless section of the North Fork of the Couer d'Alene River.
Most people do not realize that North Fork has a roadless section, including
many of those who have spent significant time in the area. This is probably
due to the common misconception that the North Fork follows the main Big North
Fork Road from Kingston all the way to Magee Ranger Station. Take a look at
the map, and you'll notice that at the confluence of Teepee Creek and the North
Fork, the road (FR208), follows Teepee Creek west, and the North Fork is tucked
into a narrow canyon to the north.
The run is a class II-III, swiftwater, scenic run suitable for intermediate kayakers and open canoes. Hazards include logs and brushy banks. Scenic highlights include Steamboat Rocks, where the river passes by the base of a vertical wall several hundred feet high. Perched at the top of the wall are two house sized boulders balanced atop thin rock spires. This is also where you'll find the first rapid of any consequence; the second is near the takeout where the river makes a sharp turn right hand turn against a vertical wall. There are several braided sections in between that can make the run scrapy at low flows. Be on the lookout for wood.
Exit Interstate 90 at Kingston, Idaho and drive North on the Big North
Fork Road about 40-50 miles. The road becomes number 208 at the town of Prichard,
located at the confluence of Prichard Creek. Continue up river and stop at the
third bridge after Big Hank Forest Service Camp Ground. This is the take out.
There is a small parking area near the trail head of trail 20, which follows the
river to Jordan Camp.
To get to the put in, continue upriver on road 208, which eventually becomes road 6310 and changes from pavement to dirt. Watch for road 3099 heading uphill to the north. Take 3099 north to road 412 (turn right at the fork), then take 412 down to Jordan Camp. Jordan Camp is also accessible from Shoshone Creek, but significant distance is added to the shuttle.
Unfortunately, both the 3099 route and the Shoshone Creek routes are generally snowed in till water levels are too low. There is a very short window of opportunity to catch this run and timing is critical. At least a couple of scouting trips to check road conditions are required. For the truly committed, trail 20 runs the entire length of the run and is fairly flat and well maintained.
|Season:||Apr - May|
in a larger map.
Copyright Todd Hoffman 2009 - All Rights Reserved