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South Fork Silver Creek

*Autobahn to Icehouse Reservoir*

* This write-up is a description of how my paddling buddies and I ran rapids at our flow on that particular day.  Be sure to make your own decisions ...

The mere mention of this run puts a smile on my face.  Low volume, granite bedrock ... my favorite!  I didn't like the section above Autobahn all that much so I am writing this from Autobahn to Icehouse Res.  If you like boating where your main task is to not pin or broach then continue upstream.  With that said, there are 3 fun rapids up there, but not worth the trouble.  Blah, blah, blah ... anyway ... Autobahn Autobahn Rapid, South Silver vroom, vroom ... a 350 foot slide, enter right heading center.  It all goes, but stay right at the bottom to avoid a rock on the left.  The next 4 foot boof No-Name Rapid, South Silver  is more enjoyable than it looks.  Watch for the current going toward the left wall.  Next is Double Drop Double Drop Rapid, South Silver Depending on flows enter right or left.  Left seems to be a better line at lower flows.  The goal is to run both drops in the middle with boofs if possible.  The entry is a little tricky due to shallow water. Triple slide Triple Slide Rapid, South Silver Enter right, slide, right to boof, middle for final slide. A small pool before Boof, Boof, Slide Boof, Boof, Slide Rapid, South Silver This one is great fun.  Boof far right, drive right as soon as you land.  After boof #2 hold on for the slide.  It's narrow, and you'll probably have to rock brace on the way down.  A read and run slide is all that separates you from the wonderful waterfall/teacup section. Waterfalls / Teacups - 6 falls in total, 8', 12', 16', 3', 2', 10'.  Run the 8' falls right, eddy out.  The 12' falls leads into wall, run far, far left 12' Falls, South Silver sliding down with a 9 o'clock angle.  This will avoid a piton at the bottom.  At lower flows left still goes, but entering far right works too. For the 16' falls 16' Falls, South Silver run left, a ramp with an auto boof.  Run 3' and 2' right.  10' curtain falls 10' Falls, South Silver run right.  Be sure to catch the boat-sized eddy on the right or run down to the next eddy on left, this your last hope to scout / portage Skyscraper Skyscraper, South Silver Oh my.  What a sight this rapid is.  Watch for the piton after the entry slide and for the pourover / pocket on the right half way down.  **- a fellow got stuffed behind the falls here for a FEW minutes this June.  His boat was still there when he hiked out.  At lower flows the exit 10 foot falls isn't very sticky. Off Ramp Off Ramp, South Silver a 25' super fast slide ending in a cave type wall.  Run just right of the rooster on the river left side.  Try to carve to the left as you approach the bottom to avoid hitting the rocks at mach speeds.  It is possible to run Off Ramp if you have portaged Skyscraper by sliding in just below the 12' falls.  You will need someone to hold your boat as you get in though. Portage - log - Get out left and walk across log to a seal launch into creek on the left.  Go 15' get out river left.  Climb over wall then lower boats by rope.  Portage, South Silver The walk down through the bushes is a bit sketchy, hence the lowering of boats. Nose Job - this rapid is excellent.  Enter middle left.  Oh yes, another boof, as soon as you land, you hit a tubing lateral Nose Job, South Silver heading right.  Brace left to stay upright, and keep your elbows in.  The next rapid has a pin rock at the bottom that is tough to avoid.  I take a short walk on the right. Dorsal fin - this rapid has an ugly log on the right extending toward the middle.  Enter middle over the water fin boofing toward the left and it's smooth sailing. Funk Falls - channel on left moving right then a 8' funky drop.  Follow the current, it lines you up for an auto boof.  It's best to scout Plastic Surgery Plastic Surgery, South Silver from here.  Next are a few slides, one with a decent hole, leading into Plastic Surgery, one of which deserves special attention and safety.  It's a pot hole that causes swims and is difficult to self-rescue.  Plastic Surgery Plastic Surgery, South Silver is a 25' slide with 2 possible lines.  Entry hole can be sticky, run it right.  Option #1 - from the right enter behind rock and run just right of rooster tail at bottom.  Call for a chiropractor appointment, you are going to feel this one.  Option #2 - I have only heard about this line and have not seen it for myself.  Boof the right side landing in the pocket at a 10 o'clock angle and it's smooth from there.  Stay right on the next slide to avoid getting pushed into some rocks.  Quadruple-Bypass - four slides back to back - run right Quadruple Bypass #1, South Silver,  left Quadruple Bypass #2, South Silver,  center Quadruple Bypass #3, South Silver,  left Quadruple Bypass #4, South Silver  If gorilla boating is your style continue on, I had my fix by now and choose to hike to the takeout, ~300 yds, on the trail river right.

Logistics

From Placerville: Take-out - from Hwy 50 take Icehouse Rd (milemarker 39.8) and follow signs to Icehouse Res.  After 11.7 miles follow sign (left) to Wrights Lake.  1.6 miles turn right toward Strawberry Campground.  Drive 1.8 miles to the end of the road.  There is a creek side trail leading to Skyscaper from here.  Put-in - return to Strawberry Campground sign 1.8 miles.  Turn right.  In 3.5 miles turn right onto paved road (mp ~6.5, FS 12n25).  Stay straight at first intersection.  After ~1/2 mile road forks, turn right.  Follow to the end.  A cairn (stacked rocks) marks the trail to Autobahn on the west side of parking area.

From South Lake Tahoe: Take-out - from Hwy 50 turn right on unmarked paved road at mm 53.8.  After 6 miles turn left onto FS 32.  After 6.2 miles turn left toward Strawberry Campground.  Drive 1.8 miles to the end of the road.  There is a creek side trail leading to Skyscaper from here.  Put-in - return to Strawberry Campground sign 1.8 miles.  Turn right.  In 3.5 miles turn right onto paved road (mp ~6.5, FS 12n25).  Stay straight at first intersection.  After ~1/2 mile road forks, turn right.  Follow to the end.  A cairn(stacked rocks) marks the trail to Autobahn on the west side of parking area.

Narrative copyright 2002.  Contact Justin States.  This page was last updated May 18, 2016.