Prospect Creek

Contributed by Scott McBride
What It's Like
A creeky alternate entrance to Spius Creek; scenic but manky
Class
IV
Scouting / Portaging
You can scout almost the entire canyon from the rim ahead of time.
Time
3-4 hours
When to Go
Snowmelt May-June
Gauge
28.9cms↑ (Apr 21 13:50)
Prospect Creek provides some canyon exploration in the Merritt area. The kayaking never really gets good, but the semi-arid canyon scenery and roundabout access should keep you occupied for a while. Probably the best part of Prospect Creek is a class IV(+) canyon in the last kilometre before the confluence with Spius Creek (II-IV). If you can figure out the fickle flows, convoluted access, and exposed scouting you might be able to achieve the beggar's choice: an afterwork creeking run in Merritt.

Located on the backside of the Coquihalla, the Prospect-Spius area has a short snowmelt window in May-June. A runnable but manky flow is ~20cms on SPIUS CREEK NEAR CANFORD (08LG008). The run appears to get more quality at higher flows (e.g. photos at ~45cms), although from the scouting overlook it is not clear how committing the canyon is at that level.

2020 hydrograph and median for SPIUS CREEK NEAR CANFORD (08LG008).


Prospect Creek has slightly easier shuttle logistics than the normal Spius Creek run. The easiest takeout is 20 minutes west of Merritt where the Prospect FSR crosses Spius Creek. To get to the put in, continue up the Propsect FSR ~16.5 km beyond the bridge (not matching the km markers), to a sharp left branch onto a 4x4 track. Drive back along and down this track as far as you can (~2km), then hike down a switchbacking ATV trail to the river (~1km), staying right at most branches. Before the last hill down into the canyon, leave your boats and walk a branch to the left, which will lead to an overlook where most of the canyon can be scouted from far above river level. Once you return to your boats and drop down the switchbacks to river level, the put in is just before Prospect Creek canyons up, and just below a logjam (2016-2019). There is an easier put in further upstream at a bridge on the Prospect FSR, but the intervening section appears to be mostly continuous class III+ full of wood with one OK waterfall.

From the put in at the base of the ATV track, Prospect Creek quickly canyons up into a couple committing rapids on a corner before reaching the section scouted from the overlook. The portion visible from the overlook is the crux section, and at low flow it is a scoutable class IV rapid. At high flow, it's hard to get a good read on how continuous this section would be. After completing the ~1km long canyon on lowermost Prospect Creek, there is a ~15km paddle out along the predominantly class II-III Spius Creek, passing through the Big Box (IV) and Little Box (II).

Cabin Lake high up in the Prospect Creek drainage.


An OK waterfall above the recommended put in, probably would be a first descent. Near ~21km marker on the Prospect FSR.


Looking up Prospect Creek in the distance from the Spius Creek shuttle, showing the scouting overlook on the right (river left).


A gross logjam just above the recommended put in.


The crux of Prospect Creek at a too low level of ~10cms on SPIUS CREEK NEAR CANFORD (08LG008).


The crux of Prospect Creek at an untested high flow of ~45cms on SPIUS CREEK NEAR CANFORD (08LG008).


The views of Prospect Creek that make it look worth it.


The runout down towards the confluence with Spius Creek.


Down in the canyon at a low level of ~20cms on the Spius gauge.


The flows of Prospect and Spius Creek are roughly equal, meaning that you only have half the flow of the reading on SPIUS CREEK NEAR CANFORD (08LG008). Too low at ~10cms on that gauge.


Big Box on Spius Creek at a low flow.


Little Box on Spius Creek later in the summer.