Feather River Middle Fork Sloat Run


Stretch: town of Sloat to Nelson Point campground
Difficulty: class II-III, not floatable when too low
Distance: 6.5 miles, 1 day
Flows: rafts and kayaks 600 - 2400 cfs
Gauge: estimate 38% - 45% of the flow at Merrimac (MER)
Gradient: ? fpm average
Put-in: near the town of Sloat, 4140'
Take-out: Nelson Point campground on Quincy-LaPorte Road, 3880'
Shuttle: 20 miles (30 minutes) one-way
Maps: USFS Plumas NF, AAA Feather and Yuba Region
Season: spring, from rain and snowmelt
Agency: private, USFS
Notes: © 1998 Bill Tuthill, CreeksYahoo

Here is another good run that has not appeared in any guidebook. Being out of the way and only class II-III, it is neither well known nor often boated. One problem is that it runs only during winter and spring, when weather is cool at such a high elevation. Charles Martin overlooked this run in his 1974 guidebook, which seems odd, because it was well within the capability of boaters during that era. Scenery is fine, solitude is excellent, and fishing can be good in season.

The Sloat (AKA English Bar) stretch turns out to be a pleasant run, at a sample spring flow of around 1200 cfs. There are some good surfing waves; a good one is just downstream from the put-in. The difficulty level approximates Cache Creek, with class II and technical class II+ rapids, and two bigger class III rapids encountered near the middle of the run. The first bigger rapid had a sneak channel on the right, while the left channel was a bumpy and rocky chute (1996). The second bigger rapid follows soon after, perhaps near the English Bar marked on maps.

In April 1986, hardshell kayaker Al McManus pinned and died on this run, although as of 1998, no known whitewater deaths have occurred on the much more dangerous class V run just downstream.

To reach take-out, follow highway 70 to near Quincy (about 5 miles east), and turn south on Quincy-LaPorte road. Continue 6 or 7 miles to where the road crosses the Middle Fork Feather, and park at the Nelson Point campsite and picnic grounds.

To reach put-in from there, return to highway 70, and drive southeast about 10 miles to the town of Sloat. Most people put in south of town, near a railroad bridge, where road 23N08 crosses the river before climbing Poplar Creek to the south. Other put-ins are possible.


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