Southfork Snake trip report - Spring/Fall
I was able to do two trips on the Southfork Snake this season. One in early June and one this past weekend. I've done this trip many, many times in my 14 ft. cataraft or 14 ft. raft, but this year I did the trip in a couple different boats. Here's a report on each trip and some pics.
Early June - Flow was around 9000 cfs. Conant to Byington. 25 miles. My rafting buddy (plus river dog) rowed my raft, and I tried out my 10 ft. cataraft to see how it would work for a multi-day trip. I added an extra section of diamond plate decking to carry gear. Granted, all of the camp stuff (cooler, dry boxes, tables, kitchen, etc.) was on the raft, but I definitely could pack a good amount of gear on the little cat. A solo overnighter going backpacker style would be possible. We camped two nights at Rattlesnake Point. Nice camp with lots of room & trees. This is one of the lower camps and it is across from the road. We had a little ATV noise, but it was the cows on the opposite hillside that drove us crazy. Mooing from sunrise to sunset.
Fall trip/September 25-28 - Flow was around 7000 cfs. This was my first true river trip in my touring SOT kayak. We had 9 adults & 3 kids (10-12 yr. old boys) in 3 tandem canoes, 1 solo canoe, 2 SOT kayaks, and 1 IK. I figured this was the best time to try out the kayak on fast moving water with some small riffles and one class 1 rapid. Definitely a more "intimate" experience in the kayak. A few eddy lines and swirlies that got my attention, but I stayed in the kayak and felt pretty comfortable with it. We had originally planned on launching at Palisades Dam ( 39 miles to Byington), but the wind was howling Friday night and still howling Saturday morning. We decided to do Conant to Byington instead and that was a much better choice. The wind was not an issue in the canyon. We made it the 12ish miles to Lufkin Bottom in 2.5 hours including a lunch stop. We were one night short of the Super Moon, but we were treated to a huge almost full moon Saturday night. We paddled the rest of the way (another 12ish miles) Sunday and made it back to SLC in plenty of time for the Super Moon eclipse Sunday night. Two of the tandem canoes flipped in the class 1 rapid right before the takeout. This rapid is formed by an old diversion dam. I honestly didn't have much memory of this spot from all my previous raft trips or even the spring trip in my little cataraft. It's easy to see the line in a raft. Tongue with a small wave train just left of center. If you're a little off to the right though, it will swamp & flip a loaded canoe. Everyone was fine, just wet. The boys thought that flipping the canoes was pretty awesome! I will say that the wave train looked a lot different to me in my kayak than on my raft or cataraft. When you're sitting right down there in it, those waves look so much bigger. I gained a lot more confidence in what my kayak & I can handle on this trip. we also saw a mom & baby moose on Sunday.....bonus points.
If you're looking for a fun weekend trip close to the SLC area, the Southfork Snake is a great choice. Self issue permit for camping. Nice camps. Groover & fire pan required. Plan on seeing a ton of drift boats since this is a very popular fly fishing stretch of river.
"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
Australian Aboriginal Proverb