Elaho-Squamish

Contributed by Claudia Schwab
What It's Like
Cold water and big waves
Class
III (IV-)
Time
2-3 h
When to Go
Summer and fall
Gauge
372.0cms↑ (Jun 27 20:45)
This description is from 2007 and may be outdated.

Character: Large volume, boulder gardens, big waves, cold water.
Flows: Low: Elaho 60 cms, Squamish 130 cms. Medium: Elaho 150 cms, Squamish 300 cms. High: Elaho 300 cms, Squamish 600 cms.
Scenery: Great views of hanging glaciers and jagged peaks, commercially rafted.
Length of Run: 10 km
Length of Shuttle: (one way) 13.5 km
Special considerations: The river water comes from all the glaciers you see and is therefore always freezing cold. Dress warmly. Big logjams have previously caused problems especially at higher levels. Whirlpools and boils at high water.

Directions:
From Squamish drive North on Hwy 99. Turn left on Squamish Valley Rd. at the Alison Lake Junction (10 km from Cleveland Avenue). The Squamish Valley Rd changes to the Squamish River Rd. 22 km from the turnoff you will pass a gate and forestry company information board. The road changes to gravel. Continue for another 18 km past the gate (mile marker 31.5) to a possible take-out (N50 02.777 W123 20.229). Walk to the river across a side channel (about 10 min) and make sure you recognize this spot. Another possible take-out is down a small logging road to your left just past Shovelnose Creek and before Turpid Creek (21 km from gate, mile marker 33, N50 04.258 W123 20.471). With a 4-WD vehicle you can drive down this dirt track for about 500 m to a parking area close to the river. This take-out is just below “Steamroller Rapid” and difficult to spot from the water. To get to the put-in go back to the main gravel road and continue for 6.3 km (27.3 km from gate). Turn right and drive over a bridge across the Squamish River. You are now driving along the Elaho River. First option for a put-in is about 1 km after this bridge. Turn left on a short track towards the river. For a longer run continue up the road to the first bridge over the Elaho (mile marker 39 ¾), about 4 km past the bridge over the Squamish and 10 km from the take-out between Turpid and Shovelnose Creeks. There is a branch road and bridge to the left (N50 06.850 W123 25.613). Make sure you don’t block the raft put-in when you are parking.

Description
: About 1.5 km downstream from the upper put-in, after a left turn, is a long section with boulders and holes which leads into “Logjam Corner” (“Devils Elbow”). Here the river makes a sharp right turn around a rock buttress. On the left is a big eddy that is often packed with logs. At high water this is definitely a place to avoid! The drop below “Devils Elbow” is best run on the left since the water on the right pushes into a headwall and rock corner. Below this drop the river eases. The Squamish joins from the left about 4 km below the put-in. The next interesting drop “Steamroller” is about 6 km down from the confluence. This drop has a huge wave train. Watch out at lower levels when the waves can become holes. You can scout this rapid on the drive up, it is just below Turpid Creek. The upper take-out comes up fast after “Steamroller”, don’t miss it. For the lower take-out continue through a couple more wave trains and watch for the occasional hole.