Elk River (BC) - The Cataracts V

A short exciting run through a small Canyon ending in a 35 foot waterfall.

Starts just below the Elk River dam in the first drop Otter Slide a long 80 foot clean slide. Class 4. After another Class 4 rapid take out on the right to scout Horseshoe Falls, a clean 15 foot drop with a tricky lead in. A couple more class 4 drops and a turn to the right you will find yourself at the top of Cave Man Class 5, a three tiered rapid with the majority of the water pushing right at the bottom in the cave.

Through the next section pay attention and get out on the right well above the next big rapid. A Class 6 chute that bounces back and forth between the canyon walls, very ugly. While your are out climb up to the canyon rim and head down to scout Leap of Faith a beautiful 35 foot waterfall with the biggest pool anywhere.

From here most people continue down and paddle the Canyon section of the Elk, AKA the Upper-Lower.

I have heard there is a new public viewing are for Horseshoe Falls, so it should be easy to pre-scout before you hop on the river. In fact the run is short enough I would recommend walking the entire thing before committing

River Alerts

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The symbols can be clicked on and provide some simple explanations of why they are there. You can also use the symbols to get directions from Google Maps to the put in/takeout. A handy thing!

Run Information


From Fernie head south on Highway 3 until Elko, Turn left onto Bate Ave, right onto Main Street the left onto Alexander. Alexander bends around to the right and turns into Cascade Ave, you should see the river on your left, this is the reservoir. Watch for the Dam on your left, this is the put in. ~2km after this just before the lumber yard there is a pull out on the left, from here you can walk to the canyon rim and see Leap of Faith.

Put In

Drive approximately 2 km back towards Elko and look for the gated road leading down to the dam, park on the opposite side of the road.


A difficult run in a small canyon.

Length & Time

2km, Half_Day



Flow Information

April and August when the water is low.

35 - 40 cms in Fernie is good as the dam removes 25cms and 15cms is a good flow for all the drops. Again construction is on going on the dam so this could change, SCOUT!!!



Check out 9:29 to 10:55 for the Elk River Cataracts Section.

Upper and Middle section

Upper section

Other Resources

River Alerts

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