Ram’s Horn Rapid
About Ram’s Horn Rapid
The length and complexity of the approach to Rams Horn Rapid is both extremely fun and easy to get lost. With no easy place to scout, following an experienced boater and breaking this rapid into pieces is ideal. With the stomping Rams Horn hole waiting at the bottom, make it a priority to keep everyone together in the whitewater above.
How to run Ram’s Horn Rapid
The lead into Ram’s Horn has so many boulders and channels that it’s hard to say one route is significantly better than another. From the eddy below Ponytail, follow the current and rely on your read-and-run ability to navigate the top portion of the rapid. When the river straightens out and channelizes, you should be able to see a large boulder on the left with a horizon line just beyond. From here, you have two solid options.
At medium/high water, a lot kayakers and light rafts book it hard left to the eddy above the boulder. Nervous boaters who want the rapid broken down as much as possible will appreciate this line. From the eddy, you can paddle left of the boulder with a “start left, stay left” strategy of avoiding the hole which is just below the boulder on the right. While this “conservative” line is a good one, heavy rafts might struggle to catch the eddy, and all boats are less able to build momentum away from the hole. Laterals coming off the left wall can easily push passive paddlers into the Rams Horn hole, so stay aggressive out there!
The other option when the horizon line comes into view is to position all the way right. Punch through a couple of decent-sized holes and ferry hard right to left below the boulder. This momentum should take you down a steep tongue and through some towering waves, but avoiding the stomping hole on river right. Both of these lines work and should be considered based on water levels, boat, and group ability.
While the hole is powerful, it is not very retentive. Kayakers can fight their way out and flipped boats should anticipate flushing out quickly. If anyone swims here, prepare to pick them up quickly or direct them to swim right. Swimming the rapid following Ram’s Horn would be rough regardless, but the left side has a few sieves that need to be avoided.
There is a fairly well-established trail on river left below Rams Horn. That trail should be accessible all the way down below the following unnamed rapid as well and will lead to the road.
Looking down into the Ram’s Horn Hole. Aim to skirt this feature to the left.
The kayaker in this photo is setting up for the main drop of the Ram’s Horn Hole.