A fantastic North Coast creek run. High caliber whitewater with a deep and beautiful bedrock canyon. Wood is a common problem.
Scouting / Portaging
All rapids can be scouted and portaged.
When to Go
May – June with snowmelt. After a rain event.
Driving from Terrace towards Smithers on Hwy 16, 15.7 km past the large round about (junction to Kitimat) turn right into Kleanza Creek Provincial Park. The takeout is in the park, near the day parking area where there is a pool at the exit of the canyon approximately 1 km from the park gates. These gates are closed between October and May. You can walk in but there is no vehicle access.
At the turn off from Hwy 16, instead of following the Kleanza Creek Provincial Park access road, turn left and follow the Kleanza Main Line FSR. At 8 km, turn right onto Branch Rd 100. Follow for 1.6 km to a bridge crossing the river. Put in here. At the time of writing this (2020), there is a wash out shortly after the 8 km turn off. You must hike for approximately 1 km to reach the put in. You can cut through the forest before reaching the bridge to save some time.
There is a gauge rock at the take out. As the canyon opens by the campground there is a finger of rock extending from the river left bank. The photo below shows medium/low water. If water occasionally surges over this rock, the water is high (class 5). If the water is constantly pouring over the rock, do not put on. If the rapid looks junky, it’s too low.
The river starts off gently, slowly increasing in intensity. This section is prone to collecting wood so frequent scouting is advised. A fun rapid called Booty Sucker (see photo) is the start of the more challenging whitewater. Next is the most significant rapid called Double Drop. This rapid is portaged more often than not. Scout or portage along a rock island on river left. Lots of quality class 4/5 continues until you reach the Campground Canyon. Scout on river left or portage the entire canyon on river right, using a trail from the Provincial Park. This river is WAY down in a canyon and hiking out in most places would be very challenging.