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Moyie River: Meadow Creek Bridge to Reservoir

Moyie_River.JPG

Ruins of the Eileen Dam.

Flow Information:

For flow information contact the Moyie Falls dam operations center by telephone. The online USGS gage is far upstream from the run, above several tributaries, and does not correlate well to flows at the dam. It should be used as a rough guide only. The Moyie can be run from early May to early June, with peak flows around May 31. It is not recommended to run the Moyie at high flows as several spots in the canyon become extremely hazardous, including the Eileen dam and the rapid immediately down stream of it. Also note that at very high flows, gage readings at the Moyie Falls dam may become inaccurate as additional floodgates may open, which distorts readings. Some consider 500 cfs as the minimum level.

Run Description:

From the put in to Meadow Creek Campground, the river flows gently, but swiftly around scenic bends, gradually picking up speed. Just above Meadow Creek Campground is the first recognizable rapid on the run, a class II-III wave train with ledge holes in the middle. For the next several miles the river is mostly indistinct class II-III swiftwater.

About halfway between Meadow Creek and the take out is the most serious hazard on the run, the ruins of the Eileen dam (Class IV). It is located near Skin Creek on the map. As you approach the dam it will appear to block the entire river. Keep far river left here, passing through the broken out section against the river left canyon wall. Note that the center of the dam is completely eroded with water flowing underneath into a concrete and rebar sieve of death.

SAFTEY NOTE: If don’t have recent and reliable information on the wood situation at the Eileen Dam, be sure to hike in and scout it ahead of time. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to scout the dam for wood from the river as the canyon is walled in and there are no convenient eddies. Plus, the most wood prone part of the dame sits in a blind corner. Be skeptical of third had info on conditions.

As you pass through the dam on the river left, be ready to maneuver immediately right through a mess of powerful boils and seams known to cause many swims. The first boater through should set safety in the large river right eddy just below the dam. Be vigilant here as immediately downstream, the fast moving river is split into two channels by an island tipped with a nasty log jam.

About halfway Between Eileen Dam and the take out is the stand out rapid on the run, Hole in the Wall (Class III+). Here the river pinches down between steep walls, forming a long, fun, wave crashing train. Hole in the Wall is backed up by a powerful eddy and surging boils that will test the rolling and bracing skills of of kayakers. From here it is a short distance to the tailwaters of the reservoir, and a short flatwater paddle to take out.

Note that the Moyie is not a beginner run and should only be attempted by groups of experienced boaters. Due to the nature of the hazards, and the extremely cold water, swims can have very high consequences. Much of the run is well away from the road, and the setting is remote. Wear your dry suit and keep your group tight.

Logistics:

Take US 95 north past Bonners Ferry to US 2. Go east on US 2 to Moyie Springs. Just before the Moyie Canyon Bridge, turn right (south) onto East Roosevelt Road. Continue a short distance (East Roosevelt merges into Old Hi-way 2) to Canyon View Road. Take a hard left on Canyon View Road and continue northeast, under the Moyie Canyon Bridge, to the end of the road at the reservoir. This is the take out. It is possible to take out further upstream from here to cut out some flat water, but access is difficult.

To get to the put in, return to US 2, turn left onto the hi-way and go west approximately 3 miles to Meadow Creek Road / County Road 34. Turn right (north) on Meadow Creek Road and go approximately 12 miles to where it meets the Moyie River Road (County Road 63). Take a left and continue a short distance to the bridge (turn right at the junction to go to Meadow Creek Camp Ground).It is possible for kayaks and small boats to put in at Meadow Creek Campground. Do not park on private land at the put in and don’t block access for others.

USGS Gage - Moyie River at East Port

Stream Stats:

Ave Gradient: NA
Max Gradient: NA
Difficulty: III+(IV)
Consequences: IV
Min Level: 500
Season: May - Jun

Planning Tools:

NOAA Snowtel Data - Moyie Mountain, BC USGS Gage - Moyie River at East Port

Key Places:


View

Moyie River

in a larger map.



Nearby Runs:

The first major drop in Moyie Falls has been run (intentionally), though the second drop below the main falls has not. From Moyie Spring continue east on US 2 to the Yaak River (Class IV-V), one of Montana's true classics. Other high quality, nearby runs include Callahan Creek (Class V) near Troy, MT and Kootenai Falls (Class V) near Libby, MT. Kootenai Creek (Class V) is also in the area - see Montana Surf for more details. Be weary of sheep with loose morals when entering Montana.

Copyright Todd Hoffman 2009 - All Rights Reserved