Clover Creek
By Mike Moser

We hit up another cool trip yesterday, March 15, 2008, out on Clover Creek. The crew was Stacy McBain, Randy, Mike Copeland, Bill Studebaker, Steve Obert, and myself (Mike Moser). We believe that this is a first descent. It was pretty cool with a lot of waterfalls in it.

Copeland put out the word that he'd found an interesting drainage on google earth while "working". Him and Ryan Mack went out last weekend and did a bit of recon on it with some topos.

We started the trip with a farmer coming up and asking Copeland if we were honestly going to "canoe" it. He said that the creek just kept falling. Copeland assured him that we knew what we were doing and even asked him if the waterfalls were runnable. The farmer pulled himself back a bit and then said, "You all are going to die!" A kayaker can't ask for a better send off than that.

We took a group photo, discussed safety, and we were on our way. We could see from the put in that somewhere very soon we would take a big drop into the canyon below.

There was quite a bit of flatwater and the creek was only about a foot deep in the deepest part at the beginning. We got stuck a few times on the lava rock that formed the bed of the creek. From what I understand, this drainage used to be the old Snake River before the lava flows came in and changed the direction of the river.

We came to our first blind horizon and pulled up to scout. Steve and I got out on river right, while Copeland, Stacy, Randy, and Bill got out on river left. The waterfall was about 30 feet and split at the top. The river right section was a no go for sure, the river left I was told could be run with a bit more water. From what I could see of the bottom 15 feet of it, it looked good. I was told that the part that I couldn't see dropped and then the person dropping would have to move quickly around a sieve. We portaged this one, but it was very beautiful in there, so we really didn't mind. The portage really wasn't too bad either, a quick jaunt down some lava rock. Really cool!!

We got back in after enjoying the scenery. There was actually another two waterfalls that formed there, one that was dried up and the other one that dropped straight on rocks. We headed downstream fully aware that this wasn't even the biggest waterfall that we would see on this trip, for we had scouted using Google Earth and knew there was a lot more to come including the 70 foot cascading Clover Creek Falls.

We came down to a rapid that was later called "Oh Shit", mainly due to sending Obert down to probe it and then seeing his boat all of a sudden turn over and him drop around a corner into the unknown. We immediately said, you guessed it, "Oh Shit!" and chased after.

This rapid was pretty cool and a much needed warm-up. It was Class IV with a meaty boof, that caused the problem for Steve in his long creek boat.

We continued on with either Steve or myself out in the lead. While I was leading, I came to a horizon line that wasn't huge, but definitely deserved a scout. We got out and checked it out. It was about a 10 foot drop onto a shelf that was somewhat a slide. We all debated where the best place would be to go off, some talked of portaging it. We then looked downstream and saw that the walls were beginning to close in and decided to take a look before committing ourselves into this canyon.

We hiked up and to our amazement, just about 50 yards downstream from where we just were, we saw another 5 - 10 foot drop. Then we looked 50 yards from that and saw a 20 footer. We hiked down to there and then we were really amazed, just below the 20 footer was a 40 - 50 footer that didn't look very runnable. It was cascading with a 15 - 20 foot fall at the beginning and immediately into a 25 - 30 foot drop onto what looked like shallow rock below. It might be runable but no one opted to fire it up.

We could see a portage around this, but we weren't sure what lied below. We decided to head down and check more of it out. We came to probably one of the coolest places I have ever been. It was three creeks all coming together. One creek was pretty dry, while the other one came in cascading down through another canyon that looked really fun to run.

We also got a glimpse of something that we weren't sure about in the bottom of the canyon that we were about to head into. We couldn't tell, but it looked like another 30 footer that might drop onto rocks. The bushes blocked our vision, so we came up with a plan to go to the other side and take another look before committing ourselves.

We kept looking at this deer trail on the other side and how we'd get to it while hiking back upstream. We finally decided that the best place was right below the 20 footer we'd seen. Some carried down and set safety while a couple of us fired up the 10 footer, the 5 - 10 footer, and the 20 footer (which was named Eddy Swirl Falls).

Steve and Randy hiked up and checked out the situation downstream. They came back just as confused. They could see the top of the falls, but couldn't see the bottom. We decided to just portage that part, so we did probably one of the coolest portages I have ever done. It was on this deer trail that just dropped away into the canyon below. We hiked up the waterfalls that we'd seen and saw such a beautiful river below that twisted and turned. I can't describe very well how amazing it was, so you will just have to do it yourself.

After the portage, we got back in and headed down again. We had many places that we had to decide which way through the willows to go. We had barbed wire to portage, go under, or for one unlucky person, go through. We had a lot of flatwater and then we came down to a huge horizon line. I sent up the sign of hazard and told everyone to eddy out. Bill went down to the only eddy above that we could see and set up shop. We began sending one person at a time and he'd catch their boat. Steve started catching as well once he got down there.

Once we got everyone down, we took a look. It was a 70 foot cascading waterfall straight onto some of the biggest, ugliest rocks I have ever seen. This was not a small waterfall either, it spanned about 100 yards across the river. It was an awesome sight. A key note, if the water would have been high, then the eddy right above the waterfall on river left would not have been available. Make sure to portage high on this one.


After we portaged this, we had one more minor rapid and then a lot of flatwater. It was a very scenic and awesome adventure. It opened up another creek on the list of to-dos. I would go back in and do it again.

To get to this, take Highway 84 towards Mountain Home. Take the second Glenns Ferry exit and head over the overpass. Follow the river for a bit until you come to a bridge that crosses a creek, this is Clover Creek and the take out. Take a right immediately after the bridge and set your shuttle. Head out of the parking lot and take a right. Take your third paved left and head up the hill. Once you see the reservoir, you will soon come to another birdge. Take a left before the bridge and park. This is the put-in.  This run is do-able by a solid class IV boater who feels comfortable catching small, must make eddies. Everything is walkable and scoutable.