The Boundary Creek Boat Launch is where it all begins. Like many river put-ins, Boundary Creek has all the basic essentials: campsites, pit toilets, shuttle parking, a ranger station, and the ramp itself. With up to seven trips launching a day, it is best to have a gameplan and communicate with other groups as the eddy can get crowded and the top of the ramp even more so. Many groups pre-rig and get their boats in the water the day before their launch. This is totally acceptable (and almost the standard); it also means that rushing to get things done isn’t a priority. If you watch experienced boaters, one will see that they find a zone away from the ramp to unpack their vehicle and by the time the boat gets to the ramp, it is almost fully rigged and ready to be lowered. Doing boats one at a time allows for a rotation of groups and keeps everyone’s stoke high. It also means if someone needs help lowering then they’ll probably help you too. A great way to meet some new river friends before the trip has even begun.
A short walk from the boat ramp is the campsite. A few of these sites can be reserved ahead of time and the rest are first-come, first-served. The campsite, as well as the boat ramp, has toilets and a spigot of water. Be sure to do a final empty of yourself and a final fill-up of water before you hit the river. Just up the road from the campsite is the shuttle-parking area, one of the busier parking lots in the surrounding woods. Both of these locations are easy to find and cannot be missed on your drive down.
The nice thing about rigging the day before is it gives one time to explore the surrounding area once the chores are finished. The Middle Fork trail starts from here, continuing 80 miles downstream, and is a great way to explore a little bit downstream. Upstream of the boat-ramp is Daggar Falls, a large rapid that has a great viewpoint above it and at certain times of the year is a wonderful spot to watch the salmon jumping up the falls. Daggar Falls also has a campsite if the Boundary Creek’s campsites are full or if one is looking to get a little more space.
Please keep in mind the following:
- You must check-in with the ranger before getting boats into the water. As of 2021, the Forest Service had different protocols due to Covid-19 so it is best to check ahead of time.
- The biggest congestion point is the top of the boat ramp. Don’t park and unload right in front of the ramp and expect other groups to be happy with you. Find a spot away from the ramp to rig and then drag the boats over when ready. Don’t be afraid to use a lowering line to control a boat’s descent down the ramp if you don’t have enough able-bodied hands.
- Don’t park your entire fleet of boats along the shoreline, make groups of them and have some boats behind others to give other groups some space to also reach the beach. The USFS reports an average of 49 rafts using the eddy per day.
The USFS has a Boundary Creek etiquette PDF that is worth a read. It is located here.