High Sierra Creek Hazards
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CreekAreaJMTPCTYHRKCHBROtherWatershed sizeTrail crossingGradientAlert levelNotes & alternates
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Inyo National Forest
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Minaret CreekInyoX---SHRSmall?Moderate?Follow creek upstream to nearby meadow.
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Rush Creek MainInyoXX---SmallLog bridgeModerate2 - WarningUncertain which crossing is problematic, so both marked. During high water, creek flows over a slick two-log bridge.
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Rush Creek TributaryInyoXX---SmallLog bridgeModerate2 - WarningIn both cases of Rush Creek, best option is to hike upstream until finding a deeper but calmer crossing.
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Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park
XX-X
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Bubbs Creek (Center Basin)Sequoia-KingsXX---MediumBouldersModerate2 - WarningFollow upstream, looking for snow or log bridge. At worst, cross at tarns at 11,100 feet, where creek is slow.
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Bubbs Creek (East Creek)Sequoia-Kings---XMediumCobblesModerate3 - SevereDownstream of East Creek confluence, Bubbs slows through meadow. Find shallower & wider spot, or a log jam.
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Evolution CreekSequoia-KingsXX--SHRLarge?Low3 - SevereTrail crossing can be a swift swim. Cross in Evolution Meadow, where creek is calmer, mid-torso-ish during peak flows.
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Granite CreekSequoia-Kings-----MediumBouldersSteep2 - WarningBridge was washed out (not known when). Potential for log bridge; if not, try getting upstream of Eagle Scout/Granite confluence.
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Kern River (Junction Meadow)Sequoia-Kings-----ExtremeCobblesLow4 - Don't try itImpassable during high flows. Might find a log jam downstream where shown, or at the small braid below Wallace Creek.
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Kings Middle Fork (Simpson Meadow)Sequoia-Kings---X-ExtremeCobblesLow3 - SevereRiver braids out downstream of Goddark Creek confluence. Alternatively, a tough 3/4 mile upstream, find large gravel bar.
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Kings South Fork (Cartridge Pass)Sequoia-Kings---X-LargeCobblesModerate3 - SevereDownstream of base of Cartridge Pass Tr, find log jam or log bridge. Further downsteam, river slows through meadow.
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Kings South Fork (JMT/PCT)Sequoia-KingsXX---LargeBouldersModerate3 - SeverePCT hiker died here in 2017. Do not cross to west side of South Fork. Hike off-trail on east side for 2 mi, until trail re-crosses.
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Kings South Fork (Woods Creek)Sequoia-Kings---XRae Lakes LoopExtremeCobblesModerate4 - Don't try itBridge destroyed; may be replaced in 2020. May find log bridge/jam, or slow & wide spot in Paradise Valley. Ask rangers.
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Palisades Creek (Middle Fork)Sequoia-Kings---X-MediumCobblesModerate3 - SevereBridge destroyed. Find a log bridge, at most 1 mi upstream in flat area where USGS map depicts a campsite.
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Palisades Creek (Cataract Creek)Sequoia-Kings---X-MediumCobblesModerate3 - SevereFind a log bridge across creek just west of Cataract Creek confluence.
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Rock CreekSequoia-Kings-X---SmallBouldersModerate2 - WarningSearch up & downstream for log bridge. At worst, cross in meadow at 10,000 feet where its velocity slows.
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Taboose CreekSequoia-KingsXX---SmallBouldersModerate2 - WarningFind safer spot upstream, like above 10,350' confluence. Or, sneak around top via contour trail between JMT and the pass.
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Tyndall CreekSequoia-KingsXX---SmallCobblesModerate2 - WarningUpstream of trail crossing, find wet meadowy area where creek slows down and braids out.
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Sixty Lakes BasinSequoia-KingsXX--Rae Lakes LoopSmallBedrockSteep2 - WarningActual crossing is downstream of USGS mapped location. Look for log bridge. At worst, cross above 9,840 feet, where gradient is less.
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Wallace Creek (JMT/PCT)Sequoia-KingsXX---SmallBouldersModerate2 - WarningAscend to 11,860 feet to meadow. Easy off-trail travel.
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Wallace Creek (HST)Sequoia-Kings----HSTSmallBouldersModerate2 - WarningIf Wallace Creek is a problem, Kern River will be impassable. If you got across Kern, Wallce will not be a problem.
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Window CreekSequoia-KingsXX-XSmallCobblesSteep2 - WarningNo great options, best to time it right (in the AM). Creek splits upstream, uncertain which is main channel.
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White ForkSequoia-KingsXX-XSmallCobblesSteep2 - WarningLike Window Creek, no great options. Ideally, cross in AM.
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Whitney CreekSequoia-Kings-X---SmallSandyLow1 - AdvisoryEasier crossings may be found in meadow just upstream of trail crossing.
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Wright CreekSequoia-KingsXX---SmallCobblesModerate2 - WarningUpstream of trail crossing, find wet meadowy area where creek is slower.
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Woods Creek (Arrowhead Lake)Sequoia-KingsXX--Rae Lakes LoopSmallSand + slabLow1 - AdvisoryCan be stomach deep. May find shallower crossings between trail and main lake.
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Woods Creek (Col Creek)Sequoia-Kings---X-MediumSlabsModerate3 - SevereHike on brushy south side of creek to/from the Woods Creek bridge on the PCT/JMT.
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Woods Creek (Sawmill)Sequoia-Kings----Sawmill Pass TrMediumBouldersModerate2 - WarningHike off-trail along Woods Creek to Twin Lakes. Cross at the outlet of the lower lake, or between the lakes.
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Sierra National Forest
XX--
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Bear CreekSierraXX---MediumSlabModerate3 - SevereDivide & conquer. Ford West, South, and East Forks independently upstream of trail crossing, as mapped.
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Duck LakeSierraXX---SmallBouldersSteep2 - WarningUse nearby log bridge, or cross at outlet, where's wide & slow.
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Mono Creek North ForkSierraXX---SmallBouldersSteep3 - SevereImpractical when runnign high, too much velocity. From trail, drop downstream to Pocket Meadow, where creek slows down.
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Silver Pass CreekSierraXX---SmallGravelExtreme1 - AdvisoryTrail crosses on wide ledge below waterfall. Cross instead at meadow above. Scramble on sticky slabs on east side.
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Twin LakesSierra----SHRSmallLake outletNone1 - AdvisoryDuring periods of high runoff, this is a deep crossing, but not difficult.
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Toiyabe National Forest
X
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West Walker RiverToiyabe--X--ExtremeSandyLow4 - Don't try itIt's a swim during high water. Instead, use bridge near trailhead.
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Yosemite National Park
XXX-
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Conness CreekYosemite--X--SmallCobblesModerate1 - AdvisoryIndependently cross two side streams, above their confluence, upstream of Young Young Lakes outlet. Snow bridges possible.
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Delaney Creek (Tuolumne)Yosemite-XX-MediumSand + rocksLow2 - WarningFollow downstream into Tuolumne Meadows, where it slows. Seriously reconsider your itinerary - this is just a seasonal creek.
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Delaney Creek (Dog Lake)Yosemite--X--SmallSandLow1 - AdvisoryStick with the trail crossing, where creek flows slowly through meadow.
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Falls CreekYosemite-XX-MediumGravelLow1 - AdvisoryTrail crossing is wide & slow.
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Lyell Fork of the MercedYosemite----SHRMedium?Moderate3 - SevereFollow the creek upstream to the meadow and flat at 9,300 feet.
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Matterhorn CreekYosemite-XX-MediumGravelModerate2 - WarningA half-mile upstream, creek braids & slows in meadow.
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McCabe CreekYosemite-XX-SmallBouldersVery steep2 - WarningCross both stems at around 9,600 feet. To rejoin PCT, hike off-trail between Alt-B and Virginia Canyon, steep but open forest.
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Piute Creek (Benson Lake)Yosemite-XX-LargeSandyLow3 - SevereTwo crossings: Piute + unnamed tributary. Ford independently, find deep & slow spot, or cross on log jam just below confluence.
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Piute Creek (Pleasant Valley)Yosemite--X--LargeSandyLow3 - SevereThe trail crossing is relatively wide and slow, and probably deep in high water. A log bridge or dam might exist in the valley.
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Rancheria CreekYosemite-XX--MediumBouldersModerate3 - SevereFind safer crossing upstream, e.g. log bridge or jam, snow bridge, slow & deep pool. Hike off-trail afterwards, or until reaching one.
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Register & Rodgers CreeksYosemite--X-SmallPaversSteep3 - SevereFew obvious options: it's rocky & consistently steep. Log bridges are possible.
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Return Creek (McCabe Creek)Yosemite-XX-MediumBouldersModerate3 - SevereUpstream, find braids & less gradient. Downstream, use large logjam above Spiller Creek confluence.
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Return Creek (Virginia Canyon)Yosemite----SHRSmallCobblesModerate2 - WarningFollow creek upstream until finding safe spot. Consider reaching/descending from Stanton Pass via Return Lake.
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Roosevelt LakeYosemite--X-SmallInlet: sand
Outlet: ?
Low1 - AdvisoryDo not cross outlet. Instead, hike along east shore. Cross inlet in meadow at head of lake.
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Spiller CreekYosemite-XX-SmallBouldersSteep2 - WarningUpstream, creek is slower & wider.
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Stubblefield & Thompson CreeksYosemite-XX-MediumSandyLow2 - WarningTake on creeks individually, above confluence. Or, descend to deep & slow pool, where mapped.
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Tilden CreekYosemite-XX-SmallSandyLow1 - AdvisoryUse trail crossing, where it's slow & sandy.
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Wilma Lake outletYosemite-XX-SmallGrassyNone1 - AdvisoryWilma Lake outlet can be deep, but there's little current.
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Wilson CreekYosemite-XX-SmallMultipleVaries2 - WarningCross once, ideally at 8,960-ft meadow. May be snow bridges.
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