Sheep River (AB) - Bluerock to Gorge Creek IV

A great Calgary area creeking option. From the put in you begin with some fairly mellow class II. Keep your eyes open though because there is a short boulder garden section to pick your way through. Following this, the river narrows and flushes through a small opening. Next up is Bluerock, a 5 foot ledge that is good for practicing boof strokes. A sticky hole can create a few swimmers at some flows. After this it relaxes again to class II stuff until Sheep Falls. Sheep Falls is an obvious horizon line and is a relatively clean 12ft waterfall. This can be identified by the large outcropping on river left, and the number of spectators at this popular picnic site. This can be a good place to practice running waterfalls as paths exist on both sides to hike up for multiple laps. Set up appropriate downstream safety for any swimmers. The pace and intensity picks up from here on. To shorten the run this can be used as an alternative put in for more advanced boaters looking to decrease the calmer water or a good takeout for aspiring creekers. Just a little ways downstream is Tiger Jaws. Tiger Jaws appears as an obvious horizon line as the river banks to the right. Eddy out, scout and set safety from the river left bank. Tiger Jaws is an off horizontal drop into a frothy mess with a rock in it nicknamed 'backbreak rock'. Immediately after Tiger Jaws the river does some twists and turns in a rapid called Indian Oils. Indian Oils can be scouted at the same time as scouting for Tiger Jaws. Walk up from the Tiger Jaws eddy and follow the prominent trail along the ridge. The best view of Indian Oils is from a rock outcropping just off the right of the trail. To get back to river level, follow one of the gully's down, either above of below Indian Oils. Following Indian Oils, the river picks up speed and gradient and is a series of twisty creeky and small ledges on classic Alberta shale. Throughout this section and the rest of the run, watch for bridge debris and wood. The next major drop is called Triple Drop, be prepared to get out on river left in one of a series of small eddies. Although this drop used to be runnable prior to the 2013 floods, it has not been run since. To portage this drop, look for the path of least resistance. A team effort passing boats along near water level can speed this up drastically. Immediately below this a twisty shoot can be scouted and run varying ways depending on the water level. A long section of calm water, mixed in with some ledges and boulder gardens occupies you for a couple kilometers. The is one ledge hole of note that has an ill-placed, not visible rock on the right hand that has created many swimmers, rescues are easy as the river is calm and shallow below. Following this, the river will begin to canyon up. A series of boulder gardens exist here, the first being judged the hardest and busiest since the floods. Landslide appears next, options for scouting are minimal and a portage would be very challenging if not impossible. There are a few more ledges between here and the end. The takeout is on river left where a creek enters the river. A short walk up a hill to the road finishes the run. A classic run that demands concentration. It is possible to continue farther downstream towards Sandy McNabb, see the Gorge Creek to Sandy McNabb section for details. *Note, this run was dramatically affected by the 2013 floods. Many rapids changed and changes are still ocurring. Watch for consistently shifting wood, bridge debris and other hazards deposited in the river channel by the floods.

River Alerts

If this space is blank there have been no alerts posted for this specific river.

Map

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

Takeout

From Calgary head S on HWY22 through Bragg Creek to Turner Valley. At Turner Valley follow the signs for Kananaskis Country taking you onto HWY546W. Look for where the road comes down close to the river near Gorge Creek. There are signs saying Gorge Creek Picnic Area. This is about an 8km drive from the Put In.

Put In

Continue up HWY546W about another 8km all the way to the end and put in here. Alternatively you can put in a little farther downstream at Bluerock ledge or still farther downstream at Sheep Falls to make for shorter runs.

Character

Consistent ledge filled creeking

Length & Time

11km, Half_Day

Gradient

Unknown

Flow Information

The Sheep river is primarily paddled in the spring time. It is fed by snow melt and rainwater. Low flow is 12cms and high flow is anything above 30cms.

Gauge

Media


Other Resources

AquabaticsCalgary PaddleAlberta