Patterson Creek V Take 2 [Scott River Trib]
There was a large flood event that happened weeks after we ran Patterson Creek in December. I had my hopes set high that a lot of the bad wood would clean up on Patterson Creek. I had also raved to Jon about how good Patterson was, and with a decent snowmelt going on Jon and I headed into the beautiful Scott Valley, accompanied by prime California weather. Scott Valley and Mt Shasta.
Because my truck already looks horrible, I drove it down the overgrown road that Ben and I had hiked down, and we made within two hundred yards of river level. Flows were down a bit, but we hiked in to get the first twenty foot waterfall that Ben and I skipped due to numerous downstream portages. There was a log in the entrance, but we launched just below it at the lip of the falls. Jon enjoying a good start to any run.
The creek this high up isn’t even Patterson Creek, nor can I find an official name for it, and it’s also very small, we had perhaps 50cfs at the put-in. The slides below the first drop cleaned up and were fun even with minimal water. It’s amazingly run-able for a creek you can jump across. We scouted quite a bit but quickly came upon the slide section we were forced to portage due to a log jam at the bottom on the previous December trip. This was one I really had my fingers crossed for, and almost all the wood moved out except a small log on the right wall of the bottom drop, easily avoidable. The rapid has three distinct slides, ending with a 6’ drop at the bottom.
Jon on slide 2 of 4.
Slide 3 of 4 with slide 2 in the background. 1 is up on the bend.
Jon staying left on the last drop that the slides push into.
A little ways after this the creek gets a bit junky, but a road comes in on river left at the perfect time for some quick portage action, down to a twisty waterfall. This one is funny, Ben warned me that it throws you right, but I still managed to get twisted right my first time. I gave Jon the same advice and he managed to twist to the right as well.
The next drop was one I had high hopes that the wood would move on, but no dice on this one. A brave man could duck it and run the waterfall, but I’m not that brave.
Below this it gets manky again for a bit, and there was a new tree above the confluence drop that we ducked. It was very sketchy and I would portage it if I was there again. Jon as stoked about the confluence drop and fired it off while I took several shots. It’s more of a slide than a waterfall, but no shame in abusing the photography angle!
After this everything went previously, but we were glad we scouted this one. Normally you drive left and boof because of a rock shelf sticking out, but this log was right in the boof and couldn’t be seen from water level. The line went from a fun boof to a sketchy plug where you flushed under the log and rolled up.
From there we made good time through another waterfall, the long boogie water section through the 10’ ledge above the final drop and got some pictures. This drop is fun, Ben Stookesberry also runs it in this video with higher water.
This is by far the best creek in the Scott River drainage, but it needs fairly high flows, this minimum was with the Scott River at 2100cfs. With the wood shifting this year it's a definate classic. I'd guess we had 4-5 portages this time, all quite easy. Directions are very tough for this run, because roads go everywhere. You will need at least a higher clearence vehicle, 4wd prefered. My old Nissan was fine on clearence. Patterson Creek road is just off Highway 3 south of Greenview. Once on Patterson Creek follow it until it forks three ways, the left being a private drive that's gated. The middle looks rough but take it, follow four about half a mile skipping the first left hand fork. Take the second left hand fork but stop before it goes down to the creek, it's washed out. Check water levels here, you want it to be very float-able at this point. Turn around and go back to where the road split 3 ways. Make a left U-Turn onto the right fork and follow this road, staying left. You should go through two hopefully open gates. Keep following the road for several miles, until you are way above the creek and eventually after climbing a steep hill you'll see a road fork off to the left. It's pretty overgrown, and depending on status of your vehicle, hike or drive down. I'd rate the road class IV-V for a truck, mostly due to brush but one big washout that can be crept over. If you have the chance do Scott Valley's classic waterfall run. Here is a video Jon Vengley took of the author kayaking of most of the good drops on Patterson Creek.
Beautiful video of Crapo, Patterson, and Dillon.
Total run length est 3.6 miles with an average gradient of 236fpm, but be aware the first mile falls away around 400fpm.