Findlay Creek is located in the East Kootenays just south of Columbia Lake and the headwaters to the Columbia River. Findlay is one of the main tributaries to enter the Kootenay River before it first heads south into Montana. The season for lower Findlay is certainly early season in May or AFTER peak flows during the late summer. This run is often well blown out and too dangerous for most of the summer as temperatures and flows increase. Very much a paddler's creek with stacked boulder gardens and read-and-run class 4
From the put-in a short trail leads down to Findlay Falls. This drop had a runnable right line in the past but has since become a logjam. The left main line of Findlay Falls is plain nasty at best.
After about 2+ kilometers of clear water and two notable drops, the run tightens up and picks up gradient. A portageable logjam exists in this upper section as of 2018, with slow current and eddies both above and below. Further on, two narrow pinches lead you to a third boof-pinch aptly named the Portal. Set between vertical walls and a difficult scout, the Portal can certainly gauge the level of the run. If the Portal appears too sketchy to run, the river flow is above recommended flow.
After the Portal things really start rocking out with many more drops and consequences if mistakes are made. The crux is now in a deep canyon where the gradient goes off through a mess of sharp limestone. In the steepest section, a 200 yard torrent requires technical moves through some tricky rapids followed by a big launch off a pourover of chunky boulders. The final exit rapid is a big sloping class V ramp best done hard left with your foot on the gas until you punch the main hole and enter the slide. This rapid is also portagable on river right. From here Findlay Creek bubbles down until it joins up with the Kootenay. The take out is difficult to spot so be on the lookout for the powerlines and a beach on the right.
If this space is blank there have been no alerts posted for this specific river.
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!
Takeout is best approached from the put in (see description below.
Just past Findlay Falls take a left turn on Skookumchuck forest service road and look for the power line road down to the left which will take you to the takeout. Follow this powerline road for about 3km.
Descend the powerline road into the meadow under the powerline, continue along the rough road once it re-enters the trees and finally reemerges. When the power line takes a direction change to the south, park in the grassy clearing overlooking a sharp left bend of the river with a large gravel bar on the inside.
From the river, there may be some picnic tables on river right just above the corner denoting your takeout. Ignore the tempting but circuitous quad road to the left and scramble straight up the steep, treed valley wall back to your vehicle the powerline meadow above.
Take a right turn onto Findlay creek road off of Kootenay highway 93/95 at the end of Columbia Lake if coming north from Invermere. The put-in for Lower Findlay creek is 5km up this road at Findlay Falls Rec site on the left. The camping here is excellent and is a base for paddlers who might alternatively paddle Skookumchuk or Dutch Creek.
Steep pool drop creeking in a defined canyon.
7.5 km Expect a half day or more (3 - 5 hours) on the run
When - usually May and August before and after peak snow/glacial melt unless it is a low water season.