The legendary Russell Fork river has been attracting the world's most advanced paddlers each October for over 20 years.
The Breaks gorge section of the Russell above 500cfs offers stiff Class V technical whitewater. The run's unforgiving reputation is well earned. Fatalities have occured at 4 separate rapids and serious injuries aren't uncommon during 'season'.
But this is only part of the story. Regional paddlers run the gorge year round at much lower flows, as low as 100cfs. At levels below 375-400cfs, the river loses a lot of its teeth and becomes a good Class IV creek. Because of its pool/drop nature, solid Class III creekers can experience the awesome gorge run at these lower levels.
Lesser skilled paddlers don't have to be left out of the Russell Fork fun in season. The upper section of the Russell is a class II-IV run at release levels with plenty of play spots and technical rapids. Great for the intermediate boater and fun at any level above 400 cfs. Really fun at 2-3,000 cfs. The lower section of the Russell is a great training ground for beginner and intermediate paddlers. It features the Meatgrinder (known locally as the Ledges), a nasty little Triple Drop-like rapid that's as mean as anything on the upper section.
Pet Tricks LLC