Kitsumkalum (Kalum) River

What It's Like
Big water play run. At high water, one of the best play runs in BC.
Class
III+ to IV. Pushy at high water - a swim would be unpleasant.
Scouting / Portaging
Both of the significant rapids can be scouted and portaged with difficulty.
Time
30 min - 2 hr. Level dependent. Are you stopping to surf?
When to Go
All year. May-June for high water snowmelt and best Dog Dish levels. Fall rain provides frequent high water.
Gauge
304.0cms↓ (Aug 7 06:05)
Contributed by Ali Marshall and Tania Millen

The 'Kalum Canyons', is the bread and butter intermediate difficulty section for Terrace paddlers. At high water, an incredible surf wave called Dog Dish is a part of what make this one of the best play sections in BC.

To reach the take out, head west from Terrace on Hwy 16 toward Prince Rupert. On the edge of town, hang a right onto Kalum Lake Dr / Nisga'a Hwy 113, following signs for Rosswood and New Aiyanch. Drive north for 7 km, cross the Deep Creek bridge, then turn left at the top of the hill onto Deep Creek Rd. Follow this gravel road to a dead end (cul-de-sac). If your vehicle has high clearance, take the access road straight ahead. If you have low clearance, park and walk. Follow this access road for 500 m, the road splits, keep to the right. Drive through some deep puddles, when you hit the river, you're at the takeout.

For access to the put in, meet up with a Terrace local. Access is on private property. This is an incredibly valuable resource for the community so please be respectful. There is no camping or fishing allowed at the put in. Terrace paddlers do this section daily. The best way to contact the locals is on the Terrace Paddling Community Facebook page.

Once on the river, half a kilometer down from the put-in lies the First Canyon (class 3). Scout or portage on river right. Halfway down this rapid lies a wave called Dog Dish. There is eddy service on river right. The best flows for this play feature are 4.2 m (210 cms) - 4.6 m (285 cms) on the online gauge. 4.6 m is optimal for short playboats. Above this level, up to 4.8 m (330 cms), produces a huge green wave which is amazing surfing for longer boats. Just downstream is a wave-hole called Yankee Doddle. When Dog Dish is working this feature can become quite powerful. Just around the corner on river right is a nice surf wave called Million-Dollar Wave, which forms at most levels. The river eases for a couple of kilometers. A long wave train leads to the Second Canyon (class 3 / 4). At the entrance is a large eddy on the right, scout from here. To portage is difficult, but you can do it by hiking around the canyon rim on the right. The simplest line through the rapid is down the middle, keeping away from the powerful boils and eddies. Below 4.2 m (200 cms) a powerful wave hole forms called Slap Wave. It lurks halfway down the rapid. It is easy to spot and pass on the right. This canyon can be run at extremely high flows but the consequence of a swim could be severe. There is another 1 km of fun wave trains before the canyon opens and the whitewater ends. 2 km of flat-water lead to the take-out when the river splits and you need to keep to the left to get out.

Take out directions.

Kalum second canyon. Photo by Tim Loubier.

Kalum second canyon. Photo by Tim Loubier.

Surfing at Dog Dish. Photo by Ezra Brousseau.

Dog Dish sessions.