American Fork - American Fork, Lower



WOOD REPORT 5-10-10: The Lower Run, including the previously not recommended drop above the put-in, is CLEAN of wood and every drop is runnable. This may/will change as flows change, so a thorough pre-scout is vital. The Lower section of the American Fork River is a fast fun technical roadside rocky steep class 3-4 run with wood hazard. In low water, the run is easy shallow class 4- or tight manky 4 with potential for wood. High water (100+ cfs) will up the rating requiring mostly class 4 with a few 5- moves, but with class 5 consequences due to the sometimes very squirrely currents and very fast water with small to non-existent eddys. Swims will be bumpy and bruising, and gear will be very difficult to retrieve.It runs through the Wasatch Mountains There is ongoing removal of hazard wood and low brush in an attempt to keep this section wood free and safer by the local boating community. This is a yearly task, but as of May 2010, this section is clear of river wide wood with very little wood in the riverbed to contend with. Remember this is a small steep wooded mountain stream and the wood situation can and will change at anytime, especially during the Spring melt. Conduct a thorough wood scout prior to running. A good scout is at the road bridge just down canyon of mile marker 9. There is a trail on river left to get downstream for Squiggles and Goat Boof. Hike roadside for the exit to Squiggles and to check out Primero Boofero. Hike up canyon for Exploder on a trail between the road and river. Put in at mile post 9.6, which is 1.8 miles upstream from the take-out catch pond or 0.6 miles downstream of the Timpanogos National Monument West boundary. There is a double tiered drop at a bend in the river right next to the road with a high limbo log immediately downstream. Put in above this drop for a stout start, making sure to boof or keep your bow up in the landing (big pin potential), or just below the limbo log for a more mellow start. Fast class 4 snakes around tight bends over a few abrupt boulder drops until Boneyard appears just above the first bridge that you will encounter. Look for a large slightly overhanging/undercut boulder river right at the head of this drop. Boneyard is a fast drop with a flat rock in the landing of the first step center and river left. The usual run is to go off the drop with a center or right angle, bounce off the rock in low flows and maneuver around a few rocks dropping through two nice ledges. There is not much eddy service until below the bridge, so plan safety accordingly. Below the bridge, the run mellows to class 3+ for a few hundred yards and provides a welcome breather. When you see a concrete wall on river right and a foot bridge, you are at UP&L Rapid. Just above the foot bridge, the river immediately drops down a series of artificial drops that are shallow but fun. This is an alternative put-in if you don't want to run Boneyard. Below UP&L, some easy class III is encountered until a overhead pipe bridge crossing. Eddy right below the pipe and catch your breath. If you are having difficulty and feeling out of control at this point, it would be wise to get off the river here. Below this, the river narrows and picks up speed as it drops through some abrupt narrow rapids, Exploder (IV), where a old overhanging rock had been dynamited by UDOT in the past to prevent high water flooding problems. This drop starts with a couple of nice small boofs, then presents a right or left option slaloming around boulders. The final rock/hole in river center has a FU rock left center in the landing if you go for the boof. The big boulder immediately river left of the rock/hole is very undercut, but the water here is pretty deep and slows below (depending on flow). The river then goes under a road bridge (2nd bridge) and immediately enters Squiggles Rapid (IV), which requires tight maneuvering through a "S" turn boulder slalom with slightly overhung/undercut boulders. Catching one of the swirly eddys river left makes lining up for the final slot easier. Class 3 rapids continue for a hundred feet to a great 3" boof drop, Primero Boofero (III+). Run right at medium-high flow, and left low-medium. A hundred feet later is a pool above a fun 6 foot log dam boof, Goat Boof (IV). A run river right or center (shallow on left) is the preferred route. The boil line here gets big at high flows, so boof cleanly when the river is up. The action continues immediately with an easy class 4 drop, so if you flipped in "El Cabron", roll quickly. Expect class III to III+ rapids to continue for a bit. You'll pass under another overhead pipe, and further downstream, when you see a river left log jam on the bank with green plastic in it at a blind turn, you are approaching Faith (IV). Here, you must have faith that your stern will go under the jam as you squeak around the bend, but not your boat and you. There is a nice river center rock immediately below at low-medium flows to miss that is out of view until you make the turn. More III's continue with another pipe crossing high overhead. When you are about 1/4 mile upstream of the entrance fee booth, you will encounter a "Y" shaped limbo log and a rock filled mesh retaining wall river left. These mark the entrance to the tight fast steep Gun Barrel Rapid (IV), which is reminiscent of Staircase on the Logan. The drop has some squirrely currents and a few boofs that have tripped up some fine paddlers, so don't let your guard down quite yet. Below is class III- as you go under the highway again (3rd bridge), and float into the take-out at the catch pond. FLOW: The following gauge is at Sawmill Picnic area at road mile post 11. There are a number of perennial feeder streams during Spring thaw that are downstream of this gauge, thus rendering the gauge reading as a rough barometer. Check this for the Sawmill gauge estimate and forecast LINK . There is also a simple gauge at the bridge just downstream of the fee booth, on the upstream side river left. Zero is around 50 cfs it appears. Not sure of any further csf conversions at this time. FLOWS: 50cfs low, but runnable with tight slots and a few deflection rocks. 75 cfs: good fun low flow 100 cfs: Recommended flow. Good overall level 125 cfs: Getting very fast, rowdy and "in yer face"


Daniel Anderson
Class IV
Current Flow 157.0 CFS
06-20-2024 11:15
Recommended Flow Minimum: 50.0
Average: 100.0
Maximum: 125.0
Typical Season Begins: May
Ends: August
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: No
Canoeing: Yes
Packrafting: No
Fishing: No
Length 1.8 Mile(s)
Gradient 200.0 FPM