About Sundown Falls
Continuing the train of class IV rapids, the distance between upstream White Maiden’s rapid and Sundown Falls isn’t far. This rapid dramatically changes from low to high water and is challenging at most flows.
How to run Sundown Falls
The scout is on river right. It is highly recommended to scout this rapid, especially at high water when points of reference are few and the tongue between two huge, recirculating holes is very narrow. The large drop at the bottom of the rapid is the feature that gives this rapid its name and its excitement. It is best to enter on the right side and move left as starting left and moving right does not work as well. The flow will determine how this rapid is run.
Above 3000 CFS: There is a large wave in the middle of the rapid with a nice green tongue. You want to be on the green tongue moving left for the drop at the bottom. Be sure not to move too far left after the wave as there is an F-you rock on the left side of the drop that can push you into the river right hole sideways. As you take the drop, punch through the left side in between the two laterals. Be aware that after the drop there is a left lateral that can tube stand your boat. At high flows, keep in mind that if anything goes awry there is very little time to recover before Silver Staircase Rapid starts.
Below 3000 CFS: At lower water flows, the wave in the middle before the drop becomes more of a pour over that you want to run right of. While at high water flows Sundown Falls is a river-wide drop, at lower flows the right side closes out. The main drop is just left of a large boulder in the middle of the river. Taking the drop close to this boulder with a left angle will line you up for the lateral at the bottom of the drop. After the drop, there are some rocks and small laterals that can knock a celebrating boater out of their raft.