Toby Creek - 7 Canyons

Contributed by Michael Reeder
What It's Like
Beautiful class IV+ creeking that just keeps going and going! Easy access, minimal portaging, clean rapids and just enough spice to keep you focused.
Mostly class IV/IV+ with one definite class V that can be portaged
Scouting / Portaging
Everything can be scouted and the only true class V can be portaged. One of the other biggest rapids on the run gets very tricky (maybe impossible) to portage at high water
Full day to show yourself down for the first time, half day if you know it.
When to Go
Later in the summer as water levels come down. Usually a later July to early August run, but can come in at other times.
This run is an absolute classic. It fits between Skookumchuck creek and the harder runs like Yoho and Spillimacheen in terms of difficulty and is a great stepping stone to running class V whitewater. The length of run and difficulty of egress once into the canyons can create difficulties for those who are really pushing their comfort level on class IV/IV+.

The 7 canyons of Toby creek is a long run with a huge amount of clean, fun rapids that range in character from boulder gardens to constricted canyons. The run starts off quite open and has long boulder garden rapids with fun boofs and eddies to play around in. It picks up gradient before entering any canyons and has one steeper rapid formed by large boulders that is about as difficult as any of the rapids downstream (except Smittys, the often portaged class V rapid). At this point the road is only a few hundred meter scramble up a steep bank, and anyone who is not feeling confident about another 10km+ of similar difficulty whitewater can exit here. After this point exiting the river is quite difficult.

There are too many rapids to give anything like a detailed description, however there are a few things to keep an eye out for.

One of the early canyons starts with a rapid called Juniors that has a narrow entrance with an undercut/siphon on the right at the top of the rapid and a typewriter wave that pushes toward the undercut.

About halfway down is Smittys. The river enters a narrow, fairly straight canyon with a few drops that are on the edge of being comfortable to boat-scout before taking a right turn and dropping away into stacked rapids with some big holes that you definitely do not want to run blind. The stacked up section is called Smittys and changes frequently. Usually it goes a bit smoother than it looks like it will. Scouting and portaging are done on river left. This is accomplished by making your way up a steep rock slab and then across scree and large rocks before deciding where you want to put back in.

One of the final rapids on the run begins with a 3-4 foot boof followed by some continuous whitewater before finishing with another 3-4 foot boof with an ugly pocket on the right. At high water it becomes very difficult to portage the last and most intimidating part of this rapid. After this is Purple Haze (named for the purple coloured rocks in the canyon walls) and a landslide rapid that is still settling. These last couple of rapids have been changing significantly over recent years so stay on the lookout for ugly new features.

The runout treats you to beautiful views of hoodoos and ... interesting views of 2 separate canyons that people used to roll old, broken vehicles down to get rid of them.


Since there is no online gauge or stick gauge it is a little tricky to know when this river is in. If it looks well within its banks, clear and even a little bony in the flatter/wider parts that you can see from the road it is most likely in. If it looks really bony it probably is. If it looks fast and full then it is almost certainly too high. The level is easier to tell from the put in than the takeout since it is so wide and meandering at the takeout.