Chawanakee Gorge of the San Joaquin



Just a reminder for those of your in the Santa Fe area that the Los Alamos Mountaineers have asked us to give a talk on multi-day expedition kayaking.

Los Alamos @ Fuller Lodge Wednesday Oct 21 @ 8PM

Taos: TBD

We are planning to show photos from California runs including Cherry Creek, Devils Postpile of the San Joaquin, and Middle Fork of the Kings. Will also talk about food, gear, and logistics of multi-day expedition whitewater kayaking.


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Chawanakee Gorge of the San Joaquin

Its been posted on American Whitewater that the Chawanakee Gorge of the San Joaquin could be one of the best one days runs in California. Since almost all of what I've done has been multi-day runs, its really hard to say. But to bring it into Colorado terms, it has more good class V drops than the Big South.....if you run the Big South twice. What keeps the Chawanakee Gorge from being ran a lot more are the variable flows and lack of a gage. I was fortunate enough to catch it twice in three days, both times avoiding the dreaded 3,000 cfs dam spikes due to maintenance and a steady 900 cfs flow released from the dam.



Since the run sits between several pump houses, flows are dependent on the power they are producing. Often, they release at night to pump water back up the mountain so it can generate power during the day. One of the dam operators informed us that water can be turned on or off at any time....adding to the excitement of the run.

Bryan Kirk

There are 50 - 60 amazing drops in just a 6 mile section

Ben Davis




Just be sure verify if they are releasing down Stevenson creek. If so and you have 300+cfs, don't even think about a bike shuttle, as the creek consumes the road and will push you off a 500' wall

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