Spillimacheen River (BC) V

A difficult run through a deep canyon with no way to exit. The run starts in the reservoir above a small generating station for BC Hydro, this has typically been runoff the lip of the spillway on the river right channel, on this channel stay left, it's a very straightforward slide. Recently BC Hydro has requested that paddlers no longer run the spillway slide and portage around the chute on river right. Please to no jump the fence on river left. After about 500 m of boogie water the river will turn the left and drop out of view. Hug the river right side, the first drop is a 8 foot curving slide called birth canal, scout on the right. Directly below this is Astro Lube a 20 foot slide with lots of rocks sticking out, scout on the right and watch out for the eddy that catches people on the right.

Another km of easy class 2 brings you to the heart of the canyon, the next section does have eddies and pools but gets very continuous when the water is higher. About 500 m of boulder garden flows right into reach around a 8 foot ledge with a constricted entrance, scout on the right and run the entrance on the right and the main ledge anywhere. Three ledges in a row is one in the pink a straight forward 8 foot ledge that can be run on the right or left, after this eddy ut on the left to scout two in the stink or L Drop.

L Drop is a fun rapid when the water is lower and scary when it's higher, this drop is walkable at most levels on river left, becoming more challenging as the level increases. The typical portage line is a boat toss / cliff jump followed by a swim to river right. For very very high flows a river right portage exists. The next drop is Happy Ending a perfect 20 footer in a big pool. After this there is another km of class 4 boulder gardens.

10 - 16 cms in the canyon is the range of levels, the dam removes 8 so between 18 and 24 cms on the gauge. 12 is ideal and 16 is getting pushy a swim would be very bad.

It is possible to hike / ferry upstream from the takeout to run the falls when the canyon is too high.

On the way up there is a spot you can pull of the side of the road and there is a short trail to the lip of the canyon where you can see the heart of the canyon from 300 feet up before you commit yourself.

River Alerts

BC Hydro has requested that paddlers no longer run the spillway slide and instead portage around the dam on river right. This is due to some changes being to the flow below the spillway and are worried about the safety and risk to paddlers.

Please portage River Right. Do not cross the fences on river right as there are cameras that monitor the dam.


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 Radium drive north on highway 95 towards Golden. When you reach the community of Spillimacheen you want to turn west onto Westside road, after a KM you will come to a junction stay right on Giant Mine Road. Another 500 meters or so and you will come to the take out bridge.

Put In

From the take out bridge continue North on Giant Mine road and stay left. You will switchback up the mountain side to the plateau. A couple of km up the road it will split with a small road heading off to the left, this road is gated about 100 feet in. Park at the junction and walk down the road to the put in reservoir.


Steep drops with good pools and eddies in between. There are a couple of continuous sections that get very hairy with more water.

Length & Time

3km, Half_Day



Flow Information

Best in late September and October when eve rything else in the area is too low. can be run in the spring too.



Check out 4:23 to 5:28 for the Spillimacheen.

Other Resources

River Alerts

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