Southern California Creeking
© 1996-2010 by Gary Valle' and Gary Gunder

Deep Creek

Hot Springs to Confluence with West Fork Mojave River



San Bernardino National Forest, south of Hesperia, California


Hot Spring via 1.5 mile trail from Bowen Ranch (3500')


1) 100   2) 120   3) 140   4) 80   4.4) spillway   5) 40
Average: 96 fpm


Confluence with West Fork Mojave River (1/2 mile trail to Hwy 173) (3020')


Approximately one hour. From the Pacific Crest Trail parking area follow Hwy. 173 to Lake Arrowhead Drive. Turn right, cross the Mojave River, and then continue to Rock Springs Road. Turn right. When the road turns sharply left, look for Roundup Way on the right. It looks like a ranch entrance and is easy to miss. Follow Roundup Way to a "T" intersection at Bowen Ranch Road. Part way, the road turns to dirt. Turn right and follow the signs to Bowen Ranch


Deep Creek is frequently done as a two day descent from a put-in near Lake Arrowhead. Hiking in 1 1/2 miles from Bowen Ranch to the hot springs makes for a good one day trip on Deep Creek. We put-in at about 9:45 and got off at about 4:45.

Most of the rapids below the Hot Springs are formed from fallen debris, but there were a few quality rapids on bedrock. The flow was on the low side, but still enough to get dunked in a couple of holes. Coverage was adequate, but low enough that you could see why pinning could be a serious problem with more water. At the level we had many of the debris rapids were complicated but boat scoutable. A few were just too junky to do safely. At this flow level, and probably at moderate levels, portages were easy.

One of the best rapids on the run serves as a landmark for a nasty looking drop further downstream. About a mile below the Hot Springs, the river starts to gorge up and steepen in a mini-gorge of granite, with multiple drops over bedrock. There are huge potholes on the right and left in this area. We stopped and scouted this on the left.

The Flume follows approximately hundred yards downstream. It's a vertical, double slot affair, one slot piling into a huge undercut and the other...well...hard to tell. An old aqueduct starts here. Downstream from the Flume, is a jumbled maze of boulders, brush and trees, fondly referred to as "Arid Piles". We worked our way down through part of this maze and then portaged the remainder on the old aqueduct path on the right. Arid Piles, and the carry, end at a bridge where the PCT crosses the creek.

There is one other rapid of note, perhaps a mile or two downstream from the bridge. The river narrows, and you'll see graffiti. The rapid, Prime Time Falls, drops a total of about 25 feet. A "no mistake" approach leads to a narrow, steep flume that leads to a "parabolic" eight foot falls. If you blow the approach, you could end up in a ugly, ugly slot on the right. We carried, and did a fun seal launch for an apron on the right.

Related information:

Southern California Creeking
Return to Main Page

SierraPhotography Menubar Main Page Order SierraPhotography Prints Request More Information Search All Web Sites Topic Index Southern California Creeking - El Niņo Madness, La Niņa Blues Nature Notes, Queries and Commentary Southern California Weathernotes Tahquitz Rock Climbing Notes More Outdoor Stories, Adventures and Notes Off the Wall Gallery - Adventure Sports Photography Split Rock Gallery - Black and White Images Teneiya Gallery - Images of the Sierra and the West

Copyright © 1996-2016 Gary Valle'. All Rights Reserved.