Length: 4.9 miles
Flows: 250 - 500 cfs at take out
Gradient: 188 ft/mi
Put-in: Mouth of creek near Wimer Road
Take-out: Hardscrabble Bridge along Highway 199
Shuttle: Paved and Dirt roads (about and hour from Gasquet)
I used to drive along Highway 199, look up this little creek and, daydream about paddling in this beautiful canyon. After some research I found that this run was pretty steep and had been run before. I also noticed that we had driven right by the put in many times on our way to run the North Fork of the Smith.
To reach put in get yourself on the Low Divide Road like your headed to the North Fork Smith. Once you hit the fork in the road take the right fork and travel a couple miles until about milepost 12 where you will take a right onto an unnamed road down the creek. The road travels about half a mile to a broken wooden bridge. This unnamed and unimproved road now has a small landslide across it so you may or may not make all the way down it in a 4wd. That's okay, though because its a short hike down to the old wood bridge where you will start paddling (or hike some more).
This is a very interesting run as you actually see where the creek starts. When you start driving down the unnamed road you are at the headwaters of the creek. You can't put in here, though since there really isn't any water until you make your way to the broken wooden bridge about half a mile below. Here two "forks" of Hardscrabble Creek meet with about 25 cfs in each one. So you will putting in on a creek with about 50 cfs and heading into complete wilderness chanting "More CFS, More CFS." Even hiking down this canyon is worth the effort since the entire river left side is the North Fork Smith River Botanical Area.
As you paddle (or walk) down the creek you will (hopefully) continue to pick up small amounts of water which make this run navigable. A few miles down is a fun five foot drop into a big pool.
As you continue further you will reach an amazing bedrock section that starts with a log choked 25 foot drop. Just below is a fun six foot drop which we ran right. Below here the creek becomes rocky and continuous with wood in several places.
You'll end your trip by paddling into the the Smith River a couple miles above Oregon Hole Gorge. You can leave a car next to Hardscrabble Creek on Highway 199 at one of the turnouts for take out.