The Taylorville section of the Beaver River is the perfect training ground for aspiring creek boaters. It's short and sweet, allowing paddlers to bite off as much or as little as they want while working on getting comfortable with slides, horizon lines, boulder gardens, and ledges. The river is best suited for kayakers and whitewater canoers, but could accommodate a very small raft or shredder. Unfortunately, this section only releases on weekends in September, limiting access significantly.
While most people begin their descent in the pool above the Great White Slide, those seeking to test their skills can find their way to an upper put-in right at the outflow of the dam. The ferry out of the swirling eddy is harder than you might expect, and it commits paddlers to a Class V slot that leads right into the worst hole on the river.
To avoid all this, simply carry your boat a few hundred yards down a wide gravel path to the first section of flatwater. Drop the boat here, and continue walking downstream to get a look at the slide.
The Great White Slide is truly great. Dropping about 30 feet over its 60-foot length, it's an intimidating rapid for those using Taylorville as a step-up run. With that said, it's a remarkably forgiving rapid with several lines and a powerful but flushy hole at the bottom. The slide ends in a large slowly moving pool, so potential swimmers have plenty of time for rescue before the next rapid. Best of all, it's incredibly easy to hike back up the river right side to go run it again!
Next, the river splits around an island. The left side shallows out in a series of shelves, so most people opt to run the right side through a narrow, twisting rapid that pours over several holes. This right side is called Dogleg and can be scouted from the right or the left. It's a great place to practice eddy hopping as the boulder garden run out is great for ferries and surfing small holes.
Where the left channel rejoins the river, a steep and narrow slot called Mindscrambler offers an extra challenge for those willing to walk their boats upstream a short ways. The folding currents here challenge many paddlers, but the landing zone is relatively deep.
After a short pool, another horizon appears. This is Powerline. On the left, a steep slide drops about 15 feet into a powerful hole. The further left you go, the better. In the middle, a tricky boof offers extra challenge.
The next rapid is unnamed, but it is the longest on the run. Paddlers typically begin right of center and stay there as the river drops over ledge after ledge. In the middle, a tiny island on the right offers a place to scout the crux, a 4-foot boof over a hole. The rapid continues a short ways, before emptying into another large pool.
The final rapid is a steep surf wave with great eddy service. There is also a small hole to surf just behind the wave. Take out on the left, following the well worn path back to the parking area by the power house.
A brief discussion of some of the notable rapids on this run follows, but please consult a river map for specific locations and information.
For shuttle: Return to the fork on Taylorville Road and turn sharp right on the dirt road. Find parking when the dam comes into view.