Bear Creek above Hwy 44 near Redding
Even though the put-in for this run is legal, it is fraught with problems. The public does have the legal right to walk the 0.7 miles down a private road from Inwood Road (public) to the BLM-managed public land and the Bear Creek Hydroelectric plant. The hydro access road starts about 0.4 mile west of the Inwood Road bridge over the south fork. However, there is no legal place to park along Inwood Road anywhere near the hydro access road. The landowner does not like anyone using this public access, nor will he allow parking on his land. If you do park, expect to talk with the deputy sheriff or have your car towed.
The lower few miles of this run were first run on January 17th 1995, when Jim Pepin, Beth Rogers, and Ron Rogers carried and dragged their kayaks from highway 44 down to the creek, along an old road overgrown with poison oak. This segment consisted of fast moving water between busy class III drops. Brush was not a factor at our flow, then estimated at 200-250 cfs.
Jim and Ron returned with Arn Terry and Larry Berg to tackle the upper segment on February 12th 1995. After the first of two encounters with the angry landowner, we put-in at the hydro plant just downstream of the confluence of the north and south forks at Inwood. Recent high flows had cleared out most of the overhanging stream-side vegetation, leaving clean class III+ drops in a nicely wooded canyon for the first 2.5 miles. The 1/3-mile long, class V-VI canyon was announced by the car-sized boulders seen in the stream channel. The runnable portions of this canyon would start out as class IV+ or V and then slam into class VI boulder piles. We portaged most of this section through the steam-side trees and debris, and over the large boulders. Below the steep segment, the creek changed to class III pool-drop, with an occasional class IV. Minor difficulties were encountered in one shallow class IV drop due to the low flow. Lush riparian vegetation and steep volcanic side slopes enclose much of this run. During this exploratory, the take-out flow was estimated at 150-200 cfs.
The BLM has found this section of Bear Creek eligible for Wild and Scenic River protection.
Map of Rivers