Many paddlers consider the upper South Fork of the Smith the best run in the drainage. This run requires about a mile of a lower body workout before the final steep and muddy plunge to the river. Instead of the muddy plunge down to the river you may hike upstream on the South Kelsey Trail in order to earn more river miles.

Rapid on the Upper South Fork of the Smith River

Rapid on the Upper South Fork of the Smith River

The River

There are many pleasant rapids on this run and the most difficult is The Island where you have a choice of running either right or left of a large island. We ran it at low water and only had the opportunity to run it left. The low water run was through a slot with some strange laterals, but the portage wasn't too difficult making this a run for a confident class IV+ paddler.

Kayaker going right of the rock in the left channel at Island Rapid

Kayaker going right of the rock in the left channel at Island Rapid

After The Island there are many fun rapids until the river mellows out a few miles above take out. If you're interested in rafting this run make sure that you have a decent amount of water and prepare for a challenging put in.

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