Mark West Creek
|Stretch:||Mark West Resort to Santa Rosa|
|Distance:||4 miles, half day (2 hours from Davis)|
|Flows:||300 or more. Current Creekin' (est) gauge More than 1.00’ on put in bridge.|
|Gradient:||60 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Along road near Mark West Resort|
|Take-out:||embankment above Quietwater Drive|
|Shuttle:||3 miles (5 minutes) one-way|
This run is amazing considering the fact that it is within 10 minutes of downtown Santa Rosa. With this said, I was a little disappointed in it. We ran it three times in two days total, in a three day period, each run got less entertaining, perhaps because each run had lower water than the prior. Therefore I would aim to have more than 1.25 feet on the put in gage, over 1.75 would be even better. Even though my tone may seem a little negative, it was definitely fun the first time down so I would recommend this run to anyone in the Bay Area looking for a winter run. To make it even more worth while you might as well double up on it as the shuttle is ridiculously simple and the run only takes a little over an hour.
My friend Larry who is local to Mark West and gets on it all the time has given me better flow information... so on the put-in bridge gauge:
|1.0||Very very low..the minimum|
|1' - 2'||Low|
|2' - 2.5'||Med|
|2.5' - 3'.5||Med / High (2.75' is optimal)|
|3.5'||And up is high.|
|4'+||It gets intense|
- Flat water with current allows for a warm up of one and a half miles or so.
- After you go under a second bridge, the rapids begin. Willows (III-). The first
rapid is a simple willow maze. We entered right and moved left, ending to the left
of the rock at the bottom.
Zig-Zag (III-). Enter on the right and cut left in front of a large rock, finishing the rapid moving left.
Or Boof (III). Another zig-zag rapid goes right to left. There is a tongue you can use or the right side at the zag can be boofed to end the rapid.
Downed Tree (III+). This is a long rapid. At higher flows you have to sneak right around it and go down some rocks. There are two more parts of this rapid. We moved extreme left for the first part, then worked either right or stayed put. Either exit was fine, just some rocks to avoid in between.
- Backed up Shoot (III+). Enter on the left shore, there is a shoot which drops into a
boil, this boil is caused by another rock. At low flows slight effort was made to avoid
said rock. The end up this rapid is best run on the left shore down a steep tongue.
Tennis Ball Rapid (IV). A single move rapid, this rapid has some runnable boofs in the center, which would have to be precise to avoid rocks in the landing. We ran in on the right, off of a flake boof. We either melted it right or went straight. Immediately to the left was a piton rock and a tree, a nose pointed to the left would hit either/both.
S turn (IV). The longest rapid on the run. This one starts as a willow garden, we entered on the left then began on the rightish side. Over the first cascade we moved left to the shore around some willows. Next there are two holes to go over. If the water is below 2’ is it possible to go under the ensuing downed tree. Scout if over cause I have no idea what it is like. Now move around the rocks, get back in the left channel and make the zig-zag to the bottom and exit on the right to avoid another downed tree.
Slot (IV-). Right below S turn this rapid consists of several holes in a constricted channel. The channel is run down the middle. There is a rock in the middle at the end, easiest avoided to the left. A few more submerged rocks make the exit, easiest to exit center or far right.
- Flat water to take out. Beware of downed trees.
Take out: About one mile off of River Road from Highway 12. Or about 4 miles down river from the put in. There are spots on the side of the road after a road called Quite Water Drive.
Put in: From Davis take 80 to 12 which turns into 29, go north on 29. Take 29 to Calistoga, at flashing red stop, leave 29 and go straight. About a mile later is a Quicky station and a stop sign, turn left. I think this is called Sharp Road. Follow about six miles and turn right at flashing stop sign onto Mark West Springs Road. Put in at bridge at the Mark West Resort.
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