In anticipation of the fall/winter kayaking season I figured this would be a good time to get excited about kayaking. I often said of a particular run that its in my top five all time runs but have actually never really thought about what that list is:) The result is that I have many more runs than I thought in that top 'five'. Well in an effort to create the list I've narrowed that down a little. I put in a couple of restrictions to help me out. These are all in the United States and they all have to be a normal day run (meaning a marathon run on a normal overnighter doesn't count). Also they're not ranked, its just simply my five most favorite runs in the United States!
I'll start west and move east:
I don't think I'm alone here as I've talked to several people who describe Kimshew as the best day run in California, which is a pretty bold statement. It's also hard to argue against it. Kimshew has everything you could want in a run. Great rapids, good size waterfalls (but not too big), a couple of drops that you can step it up on if you want, and pretty minimal hiking. I like this one more on the higher side, sort of pads everything out a little, but you really can't go wrong.
Steppin' it up a little on Triple Drop, Big Kimshew (photo: Taylor Robertson)
South Branch of the Feather
Although the rapids are spectacular, clean and man do you fall a long way in a short time this one is here because of the place. The takeout for the one day run is probably one of the most incredible places I have ever been, its only icing on the cake that the rapids are world class too.
Hanging out at the takeout getting ready for the hike up to the car, such a cool spot (photo: Taylor Robertson)
Doesn't get much better than sitting in this pool (photo: Stephen Wright)
I just can't leave it off the list. I've run this from 1500 cfs and to 15,000 cfs and never had a bad time. It's one of the all time best downriver play runs that I've run across.
My favorite run on the east coast. 8 miles of nonstop class 5 action in one of the deepest gorges east of the Mississippi, how could you not like it. Plus the hike in and out really makes you feel like you've accomplished something that day!
Pristine water, nonstop rapids, and a truly cool thirty footer.... I think that pretty much works for me.
Big Boy! (photo: Fergus Coffey)
Looking up at Caveman, I think this pretty much sums up the Raven's Fork good solid rapids. (photo: Fergus Coffey)
Well that does it, I feel pretty good about this list and I'm sure it will change as there's a lot of runs out there that I haven't had the opportunity to do yet. But I'd pretty much drop everything to get on these five. Have fun, paddle hard, and here's to a good fall!