Ash Creek - Ash Creek Res to Toquerville



At the end of April, 2005, my brother Josh, our friend Wally McFarlane and myself went south after hearing the Virgin River was up and running. Day one we ran Timpoweap Canyon on a sunny morning, and then drove to Zion and ran the North Fork Virgin from the end of Zion Park road to Springdale in the afternoon rain. Day 2 we had planned on driving to Torrey to the Fremont River Canyon, but the flows just weren't there. On the drive down to Zion area two days before, I had scouted Ash Creek along I-15. It looked interesting and seemed like it might be a fun adventure. I proposed the three of us give it a try. Rating: Class III/IV overall with one class V and a few hard IV's. A run of the highest quality for the adventure boater. Character: Creek boating, shallow, rocky, steep (in spots), pool drop-ish rapids. Does not usually run. Need big snow year and rain event. Bring small buoyant creek boat. Hazards: Trees, overhanging brush, semi-trucks in riverbed, fences, culverts, lowhead dams, rock sieve's. Put in elevation: 4700' at mile 0 Take Out Exit 33: 4200' at mile 3 Toquerville Bridge: 3360' at mile 11 Description: Park at exit 36 I-15 on east side. Shoulder your boat and hike northeast through juniper and cactus until you reach the rim of the canyon. Scout a route down and hike down basalt talus and cliffs approximately 500 feet until you get to the creek. Put in below the spill that runs out from under I-15. The creek is small and runs through tangles of willows at first, but then channelises into a creek. I don't remember the exact sequence of drops, since there were many class III/IV drops which we read and ran. After a number of fun rapids, a mile or so down, the creek makes a tight turn to the left with a slower small pool above a rapid. This should be an obvious scout if the lead boater has his eyes open, since the rapid cannot be seen from above and the river just kinda disappears. Scout/portage right. This is the hardest drop on the run, which I named The Combat Drop(V). Here the creek bends a few times and drops about 25 feet over 100 feet. The rapid is filled with boulders and has serious pin/broach/piton potential. This would be a very bad rapid to run upside down or swim! After this, many fun class IV drops are encountered. Scout as needed. A wrecked semi truck in the riverbed signals the first take out option is nearing. Take out upstream of a culvert/bridge mp 33 I-15 (river mile 3), or continue downstream if you haven't had enough adventure. I recommend portaging the culverts, though Wally proved they can be run, albeit not terribly gracefully nor comfortably. For the next 3 miles, the river slows and is very cobble filled with only a few small rapids. We were wondering if we should have taken out above, but alas, the rapids reappeared slowly at first, and then more consistently, and things started looking up. Below the slow cobble area, things improve greatly and for the next 5 miles, the river drops through a beautiful canyon that has plenty of class III and easy IV rapids. A multitude of fences, many runnable, are encountered as the creek runs through private ranch land. Below the canyon at Toquerville Springs the river bottom becomes thick with cottonwoods. Use caution here as many blind turns and overgrown sections hide river wide trees/logs. A low head dam or two are in this section, so keep your eyes open. We three thought this was the most dangerous section. Maybe it was because we were tired, or maybe because the river felt consistently fast with consistent gradient, or because of the blind corners and numerous wood hazards. The Toquerville Bridge seems to magically appear and marks the end of this run. I imagine the run could be continued to the Virgin, but we were out of "go juice" and felt thankful to have survived the run. Maybe next time I'm in the area (with adequate flows) I'll try continuing down to the Virgin River...  


Class V-
Current Flow Visual or Unknown
Recommended Flow Minimum:
Typical Season Begins: May
Ends: August
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: No
Canoeing: Yes
Packrafting: No
Fishing: No
Primary Gauge VISUAL
Length 11.0 Mile(s)
Gradient 166.0 FPM